Chinese Internet Censorship By Helena Kagan

Why does China censor the internet?

To the communist government of China there is a struggle between keeping damaging information form the people, and being a high-tech and powerful country. Since the internet has entered China, the government has designed a system to censor information that speaks out against the government through apps, websites, and social media. The four main groups that are involved with the internet are internet users, internet companies, online manipulators, and the Chinese government. They, along with other countries and opinions clash over legal rights and internet freedom. The struggle over protection of the government and the people of China shows how communism has withstood the test of time and how it deals with the new technology. Internet censorship also shows the legacy of Han Fei through complete control of the people.

Recently apps have become popular, as ways to communicate, and unlike websites, they are much harder to censor. They have many functions and users can exchange information on them. It is very difficult to oversee every app, so the the government manages the app store and the app stores have to manage the developers, so the apps are within the law. New laws in China now require apps to register with government (CAC). This shows Communism's legacy because China is trying to keep people in the dark about information in order to protect order and the government's authority. An example of government taking information away is the government restricting the New York Times' app from the Chinese app store. This shows how the government wants to limit information.

Along with the new censorship with apps, new laws regarding how business information in stored and how internet businesses are conducted have changed. The new laws build upon as well as loosen the already strict business laws. Government security reviews for data and encryption storage, a pledge for American companies forcing them to store data in China, and companies being forced to hand information over to the government are just some of the restrictions. The laws make it hard for America, as well a many other countries companies to do business. This restriction of technology isolates China from the rest of the world. This again shows the influence of communism because the government is isolating Chinese business from countries that threaten the party's control.

Communist government has since adapted after the spread of the internet and technology in order to protect their government from damaging information. They use real-name registrations to make people accountable for their actions on the internet. So if people do bad things they can’t hide behind a screen. This shows how Legalism’s punishments and opinions of bad behavior has carried over to today. They also use software filters, and enforce the “seven bottom lines”. This is a list of online behavior guidelines, which protects laws, regulations, socialist systems, state's interests, social and public order, morality, and truthful information. This shows Confucianism because Li and Ren are very important, and the "seven bottom lines" include respecting manners. Another tool they use is celebrities with large followings online. They encourage them to send out only positive messages. They also use 2 million social media users or bloggers hired by the Chinese government to post fake information, supporting government ideals. They are called the "50c army" because they are paid 50 ¢ per post. In one year they posted about 448m posts. This shows the influence of communism and what Karl Marx and the Soviet Union used to do(propaganda), but with the benefits of modern technology.


After doing research on this topic, I had many questions about fake news and how people in China act because of censorship. Is fake news supported by the Chinese government supported like the fake news in America? Donald Trump calls many news sources fake, which is a far stretch from what is happening in China. However in both cases if you took information from the government it could be fake. Or news sources on social media, they spread fake news that has caused many problems recently. Another question I had is how do the people of China feel about censorship, and what would they do without it. Would they speak out about their government, or would they stay quiet in fear or respect for it.


This issue is very important because internet censorship limits people's access to free information, provides fake information, and changes business in the most populated country in the world. The internet has changed the world and a country as big as China as well as other countries like it have limited or restricted access to internet. The internet is also a huge information provider and if government limits the information the Chinese people are allowed, then they won't learn about democracy or new ideas that disagree with the government's philosophy. Overall the internet is a powerful tool; if censored and changed, people won't be able to see new ideas or the world as it truly is.

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