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Should the Chinese Government Ban the Internet Censorship?
Qing Yuan ESL114 Section G Ryan Salvador May 3, 2012 Should the Chinese government ban the internet censorship? Since the birth of internet, people have been bombarded with different kind of information every day. Internet is a network that connects the data of different private computer networks and organizational computer groups from people or organizations around the world (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). As a result, people are looking forward to having access to any kind of websites of their interest, and receiving the latest information about what is happening around their countries or around the world.
However, things cannot be as perfect as expected. It is noticed by many people that many countries have set barriers to the internet in their own areas. China, which has the largest population of web users among the world, has created the most advanced surveillance system for internet monitoring (Rohde, 2011). The system is known as “Great Firewall”—also called “the Golden Shield Project”, and is designed to sift out pornography and commercial frauds, but simultaneously blocks certain search terms for the government’s own purposes (McDonald, 2012).
However, nobody is satisfied to be a frog in a well which can only perceive scenario above the wellhead but nothing beyond. So the internet censorship has provoked a fierce controversy in the society. Many people including some groups of experts argue for humans’ equal rights to know true and latest resources of information around them. The Chinese government should no longer conduct their censorship program because every person has the right and freedom to know what is going on around them.
If the Chinese government insists on this project, people would be trapped in a vicious cycle because the continuity of information blocks would affect the next generation which doubles its effect on people’s ignorance and it would do nothing but fool its own people. First, in China, people’s words online are carefully inspected which means people do not have the freedom to say what they want, but rather only what are permitted by the Chinese government.
According to a study by the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, more than 16 percent of all messages which are posted by web users in China are considered “unqualified” and get deleted (McDonald, 2012). The Chinese government explained to the media that the “Great Firewall” sifted out words or names that it evaluates as politically odorous. However, due to the matter of fact, it is not that reasonable, but rather private contains emotions of the government.
For example, Sina Weibo, a most popular micro blogging site in China whose users surpassed 300 million, is required to inspect those bloggers whose have more than 100,000 followers (McDonald, 2012). If there are any posts that disobey the government’s rules must be deleted within five minutes. “295 terms with a high probability of being censored,” said the Carnegie Mellon team. So words like “Tibet”, “Dalai Lama”, “Ai Weiwei” (outspoken artist), “Liu Xiaobo” (imprisoned Nobel laureate), and even “Egypt”, “Jon Huntsman” (the former American ambassador), and “Playboy” (the magazine), etc. are banned (McDonald, 2012).
As a result, some people have invented some subversive lexicons to refer to the words prohibited such as using “grass-mud horse” to replace a four-letter word of obscenity, using “river crab” to replace “harmony” which is also banned because it was used to refer to websites deletion by the government, and using phrase “Buying soy sauce” to indicate someone who is involved in scandals like embezzlement and bribery. The phrase “Buying soy sauce” came from the mouth of a government official who was involved in a political scandal and wanted to show his innocence through the TV interview (McDonald, 2012).
So if the government insists on such obvious and self-deceiving procedures, people would finally uncover the truth and thus lose trust in the government because many insightful people like who use VPN to “scale the wall (also a subversive word which means to browse foreign websites)” and have known some truth of some political issues or more people who are studying abroad where has no such internet-defending programs know the truth as well. Maybe this kind of methods worked before, but it would not work anymore as people are familiar and proficient in computer science.
If the government stops their unacceptable programs right now, the status of the society will be much more stable, or the controversial would be more serious and finally trigger something unimaginable. Second, the Chinese government censors some websites which are considered vicious and unbeneficial to them, so they block websites just because they are not in government’s whitelist. In 2009, The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology posted new regulations on domain management institutions and internet services providers because them want to have a deeper control over domain name registration (Hornby and Le, 2009).
The Chinese government explained this is beneficial for an on-going anti-pornography program by creating a list of so called “whitelist. ” However, this policy did not mention the treatment of overseas websites. In fact, foreign sites that have not registered could also be blocked such as Google’s YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Facebook. The reason is these sites are thought politically sensitive and containing unreasonable schemes by the Chinese government (Hornby and Le, 2009).
However, as many web users who used VPN to get access to foreign websites have already known that the websites such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are highly recognized in the U. S. Many popular stars like NBA players often update their newest progress in preparing for the play-off on Twitter, which is often referred to as a trustworthy resource by sports channels like ABC and ESPN. Also, YouTube is even a normal educational tool in some world-famous universities as its sources are updated frequently and carefully (Hornby and Le, 2009).
Many of the videos like the videos on cultural diversities and new-born social phenomena etc. are authoritative. They are often in the forms of a real interview with famous experts in the places where the issues happened like the case of Trayvon Martin, people can find many videos on YouTube which are interviews hold by some sociologists. As a result, blocking websites that the Chinese government considered vicious is detrimental to people’s development in learning advanced thoughts and real educational resources from foreign countries some of which are recognized as much more better in high-level education than that of China.
If the government continues to do things arbitrarily like this, people would lose trust in their government because they do have the ability to consider what kind of information is true and what kind of information is of plot. In conclusion, the Chinese government should stop their internet censorship because it really affects people’s common lives both in freedom of communication and education. The importance of relieve the inspection on internet is obvious and necessary. If the Chinese government moderates the censorship, people can obtain easier access to foreign resources.
As people’s educational levels are higher and higher along with the rapidly-developing status of China’s economy, people are getting more insightful in absorbing more advanced technologies and methods. For instance, teachers can use foreign websites such as YouTube which has huge amount of authoritative resources in college education. Many people have realized that students in China’s colleges know little about realities about some big issues around the world and also have big obstacles in English skills which are not beneficial to students’ development.
Also, if students get such progress in education, there will be more opportunities for them to get jobs abroad which can not only enhance Chinese people’s skills in international business but also relieve the pressure in competition for jobs. Finally, stopping the internet censorship helps the Chinese government to win people’s trust and is also educationally, economically beneficial to a large number of Chinese people. References: Merriam-Webster Dictionary. (n. d. ). Internet. Retrieved from http://www. merriam-webster. com/dictionary/internet Hornby L. and Le, Y. 2009, December 22). China to require internet domain name registration. Retrieved from http://www. reuters. com/article/2009/12/22/us-china-internet-idUSTRE5BL19620091222 McDonald, M. (2012, March 13). Watch your language! (in china, they really do). New York Times. Retrieved from http://rendezvous. blogs. nytimes. com/2012/03/13/watch-your-language-and-in-china-they-do/? ref=internetcensorship Rohde, D. (2011, November 18). China’s newest export: Internet censorship. Retrieved from http://blogs. reuters. com/david-rohde/2011/11/17/chinas-newest-export-internet-censorship/