Internet Censorship in China

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Internet Censorship in China 
Brittany Lapa
November 10, 2011

Internet Censorship in China

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Internet censorship is a very important issue that is present today in many countries, especially China.  Because of high dependency on the internet and social networking sites, internet users world wide are angered by the thought of the government censoring or shutting down their internet.  Some countries are doing more than just threatening censorship.  China is the leader in internet censorship today.

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According to Matthew Quirk, a writer for The Atlantic magazine (2006), countries such as China, Iran, Vietnam, and Tunisia are actively and aggressively censoring their internet.  China, however, is most notorious for the intensity of their censorship of the internet (Quirk, 2006).

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Censorship in China consists of many different aspects. This censorship include striking words such as "democracy" and "freedom" from search engines, monitoring text messages, government workers removing hateful and offending posts from chat rooms, and even monitoring emails (Quirk, 2006).  

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Censorship of the internet stems from many things involving the country's government.  Some include pornography, drugs and alcohol, gay or lesbian images, and criticism of the particular country.  Mostly, the reason to censor the internet is to protect citizens from content like sexual or drug related material (Quirk, 2006).  However, blocking criticism or scrutiny of a country's political system is oppressive.

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As for the companies that are willing to block this content?  Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo! have all been a part of censoring China's internet.  According to Elijah Dann and Neil Haddow, Google, an American company, admitted in front of a Congressional Committee that they sold software to China that blocked the 1989 events of Tiananmen Square from their search engine (2008). "Falun Gong" was also blocked because it is a banned religious group in China.

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What does this omission of terms mean?  It means that Chinese citizen's human rights are being violated (Dann and Haddow, 2008).  The Chinese people, and all users of the internet, have a right to access information as they please.  With censoring information about democracy and freedom and not allowing for criticism of Chinese government, citizens lose their ability to be informed. 

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However, internet users are finding ways around the filters.  Daniel Lyons, a correspondent for Newsweek magazine explains that hackers simply create what is called a proxy server to get around servers that have been blocked by the censors placed by the government (2010).  

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Even with harsh censors set by the Chinese government, it is not difficult for citizens to get around them.  However, they should not have to attempt to get around them in the first place.  All citizens should have the freedom to access what is on the internet with the technologically advanced society we live in today.

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For more information about China's censorship of the internet read (Zeek-suay) Zixue  Tai's The Internet in China: Cyberspace and Civil Society, or go to to see what sites are actually blocked in China today.  Slide 10
Thank you for watching.Slide 11


Dann, G. E., Haddow, N. (2008).  Just Doing Business or Doing Just Business:  Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! and the Business of Censoring China's Internet.  Journal of Business Ethics. pp. 79:219-234. DOI: 10.1007/s10551-007-9373-9.

Lyons, Daniel. (25 January 2010).  "You Can't Fight the Future." Newsweek. Vol 40. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 17 Nov. 2011.

Quirk, M.  (2006, May).  The Web police: Internet censorship is prevalent not just in China but throughout the world. Can the Web be tamed?  The Atlantic.  Vol.297(4), p.50(2) 


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