China is notorious for its censored internet. Ranging from social networking sites such as Facebook to specific keyword searches on Google, Chinese citizens are restricted in their online activities. Recently, China has further strengthened its Great Firewall yet again.
Numerous sites we use for granted are unaccessible for Chinese citizens. Websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google – some of the most widely used social platform – are a few of the many restrictions.
It was reported on January 28th, 2015, that the Chinese government started to strengthen and increase its security of virtual private networks, more commonly known as VPNs. This system allows its users to evade the Great Firewall to access blocked sites and search up sensitive keywords. This change would be detrimental not only to individuals but also to companies that require communication through essential but blocked social networking sites.
Winger Chen, a CEO of a food and beverage consulting company residing in China, learned to work around the unstable connection and slow internet. He has considered this new change to be disastrous to the continuation of the company. He has mentioned that he is “100% reliant” on the service that Google, one of the most strictly blocked sites, provides, and that it would be nearly impossible to run his company without the assistance of the VPN.
Statistics in 2014 from CNN illustrate that 56% of companies operating in China have shown negative views on the internet censorship, in contrast to a lower 39% in 2010. This result leads to strong evidence that the increase in censorship and security in China is becoming a problem to not only the citizens’ lives but also the companies. The problematic issue with this is that the companies bring economic benefits to the nation. Hence, restricting internet access for companies might result in negative effects for the country as well.
China has been recognized for its rapid bursts of growth in the economy over the past years. Its widespread role over global markets is certainly perceivable to the world. However, in other areas, China still has room for improvement. Many citizens hope that the Chinese government revise restrictions pertaining to the internet. The world will keep a constant eye on the Great Firewall for any according changes.
Yan, S. (2015, January 28). China crackdown makes it harder to get around the Great Firewall. Retrieved February 8, 2015.
– Serim Jang (’16)
Header: Michael Cambon/WAN-IFRA