US Companies abet censorship in China | Censorship | International Politics

Presented to: Miss.

Arfa Randhawa University of Central Punjab

US companies (VPNs) abet censorship in China
Research paper

Research By: Shaharyar ibn al-Mehdi MBA, Section: 4-A

Date: 8th December, 2011

“US Companies abet censorship in China”. Prove this hypothesis by finding and analyzing at least 10 different resources. Censorship issues in china have been rising from a couple of years. Chinese government has censored or banned several web sites in people republic of china (PRC) to regulate their own economy. Communist party of china has designed such policies to benefit their own economy in such a way that no one is allowed to approach a content subject to corruption, anarchism, pornography, religious content . It is observed that censorship in china is considered as a political move by communist party of china which would help them in a way that it prevents citizens to learn about failures of communist party. Moreover, foreign government websites has banned to prevent citizens from learning other systems of governance. While consulting secondary data we came to know that there were lots of other issues regarding censorship which include cultural aspects, moral issues, economic development, political and religious matters. Culture is considered as a heritage. Countries put their maximum effort to preserve their culture and definitely it varies from country to country in form of values, ethics, customs, heroes and symbols so it might be an initiative taken by Chinese government to protect their own culture. We observed that almost everywhere in the world there are millions of people who are fond of social media like face book, twitter, and YouTube etc. Statistics showed that almost 3 billion videos watched on you tube a day. But a matter of fact, in china all these social media has banned to prevent conflicts happening within the social environment. Economically, it is viewed that few years ago an article has been published on the topic of risk associated with trading with china so these strict initiative regarding censorship has taken by government to regulate their country. Seven different articles have been studied to imply issues of censorship in china:

This article basically talks about how United States several companies attempt to reduce Chinese censorship. Different software’s have been introduced by US companies to evade Chinese censorship. What basically they do is, they hide the identity itself. China wants their own economy to grow and prevent their citizens to learn other country cultural and economic practices because it may influence their behavior. But on the other hand, several VPN’s providers’ attempts to eliminate such filters over the blocked content by simply hiding their IP address so anyone who wants to access the blocked content can easily explore it through VPN’s. So I agree with the fact that, in reality US companies reduce Chinese censorship. (1) Government of china has taken steps to prevent bloggers from posting anything that goes against the government. Besides all these efforts, issues are rising in the communities. If approximately 20-25 people access to it, through word of mouth 60 people get to know about it. No doubt, it would be deleted by Chinese officials manually but the thing is bloggers spread the information what they want to even for just few hours. Bloggers have used different techniques to eliminate censors like splitting the word, in a way that word is being split in more than two characters so that internet intelligence cannot scan those words. Another technique to avoid censor is Mars language which work in such a way that initial, middle or last word would be changed so again internet police cannot scan it. Classical Chinese language would be used by bloggers to evade censor that content would be written in vertical direction which makes difficult for officials to determine either it is against the government or in the favor of government. (2) This article demonstrate the reasons that why government of china is striving so hard about the issues of censorship. They portray the image that they are eliminating cyber crimes, e thefts, pornography etc to guard social environment but regardless all of these things it might be some political concerns. Opinions said that government banned all the content that goes against

the communist party of china; they are protecting their government officials through censoring antigovernment schemes. Putting the things in a positive manner we might conclude that, they are doing to protect their local economy through banning foreign search engines or sites. China has their own search engine named “Baidu” to grow their own economy. (3). This article basically discussed about how Chinese censorship affects the profitability of one of the renowned search engine named Google. During March 2010, Google announced to ban their operations in china if Chinese government won’t evade the restrictions. Moreover, they accused Chinese government for disrupting in their services and showed that there were some technical issues happening over Google. Google wants their Chinese users to use the search engine with uncensored results but Chinese government wants their users to use their own designed search engine to grow their economy that’s why Chinese government initially sign an agreement with Google with censored searches to prevent their users to use foreign search engines. In order to counter all these issues several United States companies design virtual private network services to access blocked content. For example if someone in china wants to use you tube, he simply access to that site by changing their IP with the help of VPN; s so I agree with the hypothesis that US companies evade Chinese censorship. (4) This article portrays the impact of Chinese government interference in Google operations in china. Google claimed that government is interfering in their Gmail services so that people won’t have an access to it. Chinese people are facing lots of issues regarding inbox opening, long time to send emails and chat rooms. Site isn’t blocked but lot of issues occurred when people opened that site in china. Students, businessmen, researchers are willing to access Google searches but Chinese government install a filter technology to prevent their users to explore freely. Recently, Google renewed their license regarding censorship to further continue their

operations in china. Chinese people are now become aware about VPN’s and other methods to access the blocked content. For example several VPN’s which include Wi-Topia, strong etc are designed to enable people in china to have access to blocked or censored stuff. So I conclude from this article that US companies are striving to eliminate Chinese censorship through different VPN’s and other methodologies. (5) Chinese government took several other initiatives to prevent bloggers to post any content that relates to banned subject. i.e. pornography, Dalai Lama, Tiananmen Square etc. They have installed the software named “Green Dam” in laptops, computers, tablets, notebooks which prevent users to do any activity links to internet that is strictly prohibited by Chinese officials. If a user make any attempt to post an activity against the banned subject would be easily catch up by internet police. Moreover, Great firewall of china is also set up there to monitor internet activities. Different software’s are designed like free gate and fire phoenix to have surveillance over internet traffic. This software’s helps to scan the document and checked either something written about the content that is strictly prohibited. In case, if there is something no doubt it won’t be published or posted on the internet. (6) This article discussed how Google search engine ratings have been affected through Chinese censorship. In china, foreign websites has banned and people are not allowed to access it. However, they have an access to Google search engine but Chinese government installs a filtration technology to scan their activities over the internet. No one can search on the content subject to politics, democracy etc. One of the world’s largest search engine Google announced that it would cease their operations in china if Chinese government further impose filters on Google searches. They claim if government doesn’t evade the restriction, they ask Chinese people to use their Hong Kong uncensored search engine service which definitely affect Chinese

economy. Google, when initially entered in Chinese market have an agreement with Chinese government that they will impose filters on their searches because they want their own search engine to be utilized which will help them to make more money. But companies operating in china put maximum effort to reduce Chinese censorship so that people have access to censored content. So it proves from the article that US companies abet Chinese censorship. (7) The reasons for censoring websites provided by Chinese authorities were given to dupe general public that all efforts are being made to stop cybercrimes such as credit card thefts and pornography which is quite understandable and was welcomed by internet users in China. But the main issue behind all this was to stop bloggers to publish any content which is against Peoples Republic of China or any of its high ranking government officers. This vividly reminds us scenes of Tiananmen Square where Chinese students were massacred to suppress free speech. More censorship is done on bloggers and search engines where material is found related to the Tibet and its independence as Tibetans leader, Dalai Lama who is spending his life in exile in Northern India tries to stimulate momentum against Chinese government. (8) In this part of the essay we shall be discussing topics which were censored when they were being searched on internet through blogs or search engines in China. According to a report by Rebecca McKinnon, the areas related to corruption, dissidents, Olympics and issue of Tibet & Taiwan. Different tests were done by posting blogs on the internet which proved that on these four areas or topics related are more prone towards being filtered or censored. Tibet and Taiwan’s issue are one of the major sore points for China because they are being fuelled by Western countries in pursuit of an agenda, according to Chinese, to bifurcate it. This is mainly done to stop people listening or getting information over those areas which require utmost attention by the world. As

internet is the cheapest route in which knowledge can be shared, it is therefore being targeted. Other areas include Olympics, possible corruption by Chinese authorities into it and the injustice in selection procedures for participants is also one of the reasons why some blogs and websites are being censored. (9) Next are the issue of corruption and the process of Guan chi which is the main root cause for corruption and in China. Through means of Guan chi, which is giving out gifts to government officials in order to win contracts, it has surfaced the notion of inequality and injustice in Chinese economic system. The issue of dissidents relates to South Korean and North Korean refuges that are homeless due to war between two countries. The inhuman treatment which is being met by Chinese against these refuges in form of rape and inhuman murder are being censored and filtered from blogs so image of China remains of a progressive country, fostering loads of economic development and attracting financial investment. (10)

Conclusion:While analyzing seven different articles we came to know that government has banned Google operations to promote their own search engine named “Baidu”. Moreover, Green Dam software has installed in Pc note books and laptops to monitor activities of their citizens but despite the extensive government efforts, bloggers are still rising in people republic of china. Bloggers have been successful in posting blogs for some hours which further pass away through word of mouth. No doubt, they have reduced to some extent but cannot be properly eliminated. Definitely, this would help them especially in their Tibet or Taiwan freedom movements. Government of china has taken strict measures to guard their political, economic and social system but several United States companies came up with virtual private networks to evade Chinese censorship. So concluding from my research I agree upon the hypothesis that blogging cannot be completely eliminated or restricted.

1. Sharon LaFraniere and David Barboza. March 21st, 2011. China Tightens Censorship of Electronic Communications. Publisher: New York Times. 2. Zittrain, J. L. (2008). Access Denied: The Practice and Policy of Global Internet Filtering (Information Revolution and Global Politics) [Paperback]. MIT Press. 3. MacKinnon, R. (2012). Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle For Internet Freedom [Hardcover]. Basic Books. 4. Fredrik Erixon and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama. January 15th, 2010. Chinese Censorship Equals Protectionism. Publisher: The Wall Street Journal. 5. Barbour, S. (2010). Censorship (Opposing Viewpoints) [Paperback]. Greenhaven Pr. 6. Ringmar, E. (2007). A Blogger's Manifesto: Free Speech and Censorship in the Age of the Internet [Paperback]. Anthem Press. 7. March 22nd, 2010. What Chinese Censors Don't Want You to Know. Publisher: New York Times.

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