The Effects of Government Control and Limit to Internet access on the lives of people in China By kurtis chong

Background: In the past 6th months, several laws have been enforced regarding internet censorship and limitations. China has the most extensive internet censorship in the world, denying access to over 19,000 international websites that the government deems threatening. China has blocked over 46 million internet users from several media sites, gaining more control over the media everyday. The Issue is - are these laws negatively or positively affecting the people in China and does it comply with our human rights?

General Effects: Beijing, the capital of China, has blocked thousands of the most popular news, political and religious sites, along with educational and entertainment destinations. Along with this, there has been new regulations affecting video games, books, social media, websites, and business companies.

China's Goal and its Turnout: Officials state that applying these strict rules will help prevent cyber attacks and acts of terrorism. Their goal is to protect the country. Yet by restricting internet freedom and enforcing these laws, the Chinese are further isolating itself technologically from the rest of the world.

Limits to Internet Access in Further Detail: Now, Chinese users cannot reach sites such as Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch. Amnesty International is an organization focused on human rights including over 7 million supporters around the world. China also restricts users to connect to major Western religious sites. Western news media sites such as National Public Radio, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and New York Times are among the sites prohibited by users. Even though China says that one of their main control targets is the pornography sites, it is proven that China has only blocked around 15% of these sites, yet Saudi Arabia has banned over 86% in total.

Amnesty International Logo

How does China put this restrictive law into effect?: Most internet traffic occurs by traveling through a computer or router before giving signals and communications to the network of China's users. The router approves or blocks contents based on a filter implemented by the government. The government decides whether the media is deemed harmful. A router is similar to what you have at home, a machine that allows WiFi to travel throughout the house. This large and complicated system is referred to as the Great Firewall of China.

Restrictions on Video Games: In China, it is often believed that any media or video games that include skeletons, zombies, ghosts, bones, or anything "mocking" the dead is not allowed, yet this isn't the case. Video game companies such as, Battlefield, World Of Warcraft, and CS:GO censor themselves voluntarily rather than being forced to. There are no public laws about game censorship. Game companies choose to censor themselves, hoping to avoid any potential delays in the review process and release of the game to the public. This results to loss of money, as "hackers" will likely release the game to the public before it is released, causing a decrease in sales.

Restrictions On Books & Media: It seems to be that China has more restrictions on Books and Media than Video games. Public laws regarding Books include...

  • Gambling related content
  • Anything that violates China's constitution
  • Anything negative about China's nation, sovereignty, territorial integrity, or harming China's reputation, security, traditions or beliefs
  • Anything racial or the promotion of cults or superstitions
  • Anything that promotes drugs use or violence (May be related, but can't promote)
  • Anything about violation of the law

Industrial Business Groups Affected: Business groups around the world petitioned and rebelled against China to reinstate the cyber security law and to allow more freedom on the internet. Business groups are worried that parts of the law, such as required security checks on companies that are in the business of finance and communications. It is mandatory to keep all data inside China and the laws will likely make foreign operations more expensive or put an end to foreign operations. On the other hand, some laws are beneficial to business groups as it is now mandatory to register online with their real names in order to use messaging services in China. The people believe that these cyber laws would hurt foreign companies and further separate and isolate the country from the internet and the rest of the world. Large browsing sites are banned, such as Yahoo, MSN, and recently Google.

Legacy of Daoism: This topic of internet limitations is related to Daoism. Firstly, in the God is Not One on Page 298, it says, "Laozi's advice is just the opposite. He tells rulers to throw out knowledge and stop benevolence, adding that if they do, the people will be a hundred times better off." This explains how the Chinese government may believe that getting rid of any possible interference with the growth of China will make everyone better off. Secondly, this topic is relate-able to Yin Yang. It is shown as having the internet is a good and positive thing, yet there must be some balance. You cannot just have good, or you will abuse it, so there must be a Yang to balance out the good with the bad. Thirdly, the overall reason as to why the government is applying these laws is because they want to keep full control of the country. They do not want the people's minds to be tainted and exposed to the outer world, where there are more human rights. They don't want people to understand that they aren't getting much freedom and that their country isn't actually a "communist country."

Legacy to Confucianism: This topic also relates to Confucianism . There is a obvious representation of the Cult of ancestors. There is the belief in innumerable spiritual beings concerned with human affairs and capable of helping or harming human interests. The respect coming from the dead, including one's ancestors, is based on love and respect for the deceased. In some cultures, it is related to beliefs that the dead have a continued existence, and may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living. This is similar to how the Chinese government prefers things such as bones, skeletons, and zombies censored as it is respecting the dead.

I find this topic to be important because it is an issue which should be further investigated and addressed. These recent new laws have given the Chinese Government too much power and it seems to be that the people do not have their human rights.

Questions Thought of During Research:

  • Will hackers forever be able to bypass China's censorship?
  • Will big search engines such as Yahoo and Google ever be uncensored again in China?
  • When the people in China find out about the real reasons as to why China has been censoring these websites and the media, will there be uprises and riots?

Credits:

Created with images by Kai Hendry - "Internet cafe" • Simon Shek - "Homework"

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