Over the last few years, China has become renowned for not only its strict culture but its highly-regulated online world too. The most notorious part of this online regulation being the ‘Great Firewall of China’ –the Chinese government’s firewall which regulates its domestic internet.
Two decades after its implementation, the government believe it has protected Chinese internet users’ privacy and national interests. However, some officials are now suggesting the regulation and censorship has gone too far.
Is the Great Firewall of China too Far Reaching?
The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) recently suggested that China’s censorship could be damaging economic and scientific progression. The organisation’s Vice Chairman, Luo Fuhe, spoke out, publicly stating that blocked websites and active monitoring prevent researchers from accessing sites and information they need.
“From within China, attempting to visit the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation or a lot of foreign university websites is very slow.
Opening each page takes at least 10-20 seconds and some foreign university sites need more than half an hour to open. Some researches rely on software to climb over the firewall to complete their own research tasks. This is not normal.”
Fuhe highlights that China’s own researchers are having to turn to frowned upon means, such as VPNs, to do their jobs.
And, in the CPPCC’s ‘Proposal to Improve and Increase Speed of Access to Foreign Websites’ in March 2017, it was stated:
“While we agree that the monitoring and blocking of foreign websites cannot be neglected as part of government efforts to protect the nation’s peace and stability, […] we must also note that many foreign sites are not political.
Fuhe isn’t the only one who thinks things need to change; there is widespread disruption across the nation. Cui Yongyuan, a former state TV host, has been one of the many to talk out about censorship controversially saying that the government “simply block everything they don’t like in a way I would call rude and barbarian […] I don’t think they’re helping the Communist Party or the government at all. They are only causing more trouble.”
What is the Solution?
This comes around the same time as a report by Freedom House revealed that China was the worst abuser of internet freedom in the world during 2016 – lower than even Syria and Iran.
So, what could be done to improve this situation? Well, Fuhe believes greater ‘precision’ should be used when deciding what websites should be blocked and that websites that contain no political content should be fully-open for researchers. He also states that news sites should not be blocked simply because their content is ‘contested’.
It’s yet to be seen if the rules will be relaxed, however, in the meantime, we have a solution to China file sharing woes.
Download ‘A Guide to Reliable File Sharing with China’ for more information on Chinese internet restrictions, how this may affect your business and Maytech’s tried and tested solution.