Friday, January 16, 2009

China's Great "Firewall"

The government of China is involved in a claimed month-long effort to close down a number of claimed "lewd" content websites in China that it claims run contrary to China's "moral values". However, it is really a number of political websites that are being shut down in what many call "the great firewall of China". Once again the Chinese government is seeking to suppress dissent and maintain the monopoly of power by the Chinese Communist Party.

With as many as 250 million Internet users in China, the most of any nation in the world, along with massive trade with the free world such as the U.S. and Europe, China's service by Google and many other major search engines is opening this nation up to free thinking politics and thoughts about democracy that are rapidly challenging the rule of the Chinese Communist Party.

While the Chinese government employs as many as 30,000 Internet censors and Internet police, and six Chinese government agencies are involved in this latest claimed crackdown on pornographic or vulgar Internet content, games, videos, etc, the fact of the matter is that this latest political campaign by the Communist government appears actually largely aimed at shutting down many political websites that are may be helping to proliferate ideals of democracy in China.

The Chinese government may have shut down a claimed 277 "illegal" websites in the last 11 days of Internet police efforts, however it is still easy enough to find both pornography and adult content on Chinese search engines or through links or searches, so it really appears that a crackdown on political speech and thought is really what the Chinese Internet police are actually involved in. The Chinese government is simply being largely deceptive when it claims that the efforts are aimed at vulgar content when Chinese security agencies that are normally actively involved in suppression of political dissent are the same agencies involved in this latest political crusade by the government.

Once again, the Chinese government has forced some major Chinese search engines such as Google.CN and Baidu and others to apologize to the government. But the bottom line is that China may have huge trade with democratic nations such as the United States. However, this Communist giant is hardly a free society by any stretch of the imagination. Back on March 11, 2008, after the protests by many Western reporters preparing for the upcoming Summer Olympics coverage, China unblocked access to some websites and opened up the Internet somewhat in China, allowing for a little more freedom. However, the latest effort by Chinese authorities appears to be aimed at closing that window somewhat and shutting down some search freedom that the Olympics helped to bring to China's Internet searches. In all real truth, the great "firewall" of China is being raised once again.


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