Tightening Internet Censorship for Chinese UsersCensorship has always been active in China, no matter traditionally or digitally. Because of technological convenience in the present time, the Chinese government must move in advance to control the content on the Internet in worry of any freedom that could harm the communist party or lead to the nationr's downfall (Yang and Liu 250). The incorporation of Internet censorship is that it aims to prevent all access to resources (Bamman 1). Internet censorship is usually grouped into three generation techniques: automated filtering, manual removal by authorities, state-sponsored manipulation (Wang and Mark 2). The Chinese government largely specialize in censoring media through network filtering, search filtering, chat censorship, and blog censorship (Bamman 2). So far, much of the filtering comes from sensitive keywords that extend to political issues and information. Similar to the existence of Chinar's Great Wall, the Great Firewall is the virtual representation that blocks undesirable information from entering. Because the Great Firewall blocks access in and out, this keeps sensitive information in China and it will only stay in China. The unwanted information will not be considered at all and will be removed through the censorship apparatus.
In general, internet censorship may limit young users academic freedom and research opportunities, industrial companies social development with foreign relations, etc., but the system puts protection forward by having the harmful information closed before anyone obtains them. As China operates on a one-party system, censorship is made to keep an effort to strengthen political beliefs and views together. The purpose of this paper is to synthesize the effects that tighter controls of the Internet have on Chinese internet users. The focus of this paper will be on the behaviors and responses of those internet users.
An important factor in examining the reason behind Internet censorship in China and why it is used involves understanding the values of the Chinese. One underlying cause of strengthening censorship is focused on the concept of unity ideology (Chen and Yang 251). China looks to form a uniform country with similar cultural and social values to prevent the overthrow of the government and or disturbance to the order of society. Through control of the Internet, there seems to be a reduced number of social organization sites on the web that spark activism (MacKinnon 40). The reduced number can be explained by having people come to the government directly before opening websites. The goal of uniformity successfully keeps the nation together instead of splitting it apart due to having lessened information to a few differing views. Another cause to the implementation of Internet censorship is explained by the relevance and convenience of content found on the web (Pang 10). As Internet and mobile continue to advance, apps have been created just for the Chinese, so they only access information that is only necessary to them. Foreign news and information play no particular importance to the lives of the Chinese (Pang 10).
Without access to foreign information at all, Internet censorship may be bliss for Chinese people. It is extremely effective when people do not feel being controlled at all, creating unawareness. As for those who are aware of censorship online, there are many censorship-based strictly caused behaviors. Normalization is a conceptual process that shows the adaptation and acceptance of a certain phenomenon over time. As Internet censorship become powerful, users are growing accustomed to having restrictions on the web whenever they use it (Wang and Mark 18). The increasing of controls will only be another level to pass for a certain period, but some are able to adapt to the basic restrictions the internet already has. The only concern the users need to keep in mind is that if they find censorship to be normal, they know largely enough to not say anything that might induce harm to the government and the party. In addition, the development of behaviors in students is primarily made through media and peer influences, so obeying the governmentr's actions and controls on the Internet comes out as natural and normal (Guo and Feng 35). Tightening control of the Internet may restrict new and unwanted information, but users are still more than likely to find positive information that everyone has access to. Students respond to perceptions that, in all, move towards conformance of what is right in their society.
Another behavior is self-censorship, the action of shutting out own thoughts about the government due to their understanding of possible risks and consequences (Zhong 976). As pertaining to certain Chinese values, self-censorship is also the strategy the Chinese government is using on its users. The elites and those in power create an atmosphere of fear to Internet users, promoting the character of self-censorship out more successfully so that they can regulate proficiently. This strategy of having users self-censor can distort and change choices but is not a voluntary act in all means. Although freedom of speech and express are mentioned in the Chinese constitution, users do not have the full potential to speak whatever they want, especially if it relates to politics or even economics. Tightening censorship encourages another boost to limit speech freedom and expression, but this creates nationalism, which brings political correctness when sensitive events and disasters hit the country (Zhong 978). Users have then censored their own thoughts to avoid government punishments and risks, some even also deciding to use a fake identity whenever asked or dealt with sensible political events. Although some users may find interest in sensitive events and become skeptical about the government, they may not answer honestly to questions about the government, as according to a study by Chen and Yang (11). In the end, self-censorship can prevent students from speaking out and may negatively affect them mentally since they try to avoid consequences and the results of those expressions.
Furthermore, the authoritarian personality shows to explain that people readily submit to authorities and backlashes those who name the authorities (Guo and Feng 36). The Chinese government will shut down anything harmful online they find at any time. Internet users can do nothing but to obey and comply with these rules. The authoritarian personality also makes users strictly follow what the authorities have asked to put on in the rules of various companies, requiring users to register with real identities and forcing them to directly go to the government for starting websites (MacKinnon 40). Abiding authority every time new laws and restrictions are made is representative of keeping the country in unity. So far, users are ought to continue submission and conformance to government authorities even with free internet. This contributes to pro-censorship and shows that students behaviors toward censorship become more affirmative as they score high on the authoritarian test (Guo and Feng 36).
The widest practice of getting around censorship is the usage of VPNs both in and out of the country. Although using a VPN is a long process before it is workable, the students who stick to this method of facing censorship persists. Users have faced slow webpage loads and connections when accessing foreign websites. Without the VPN, it is hard to get across the Great Firewall and perform research, find entertainment, seek self-status, etc. (Yang and Liu 251). Yet, as VPNs become more frequently used, the Chinese government are tightening their controls on VPNs as well, either shutting them down or making web pages load even longer. The Chinese government may be concerned about the content that is presented in domestic websites, but it also blocks undesirable foreign information from penetrating into Chinese politics, especially during periods of political activity (Bamman 3). Thus, the Chinese have removed many foreign sites and places authorities on task for watching. The government reminds Chinese users that the internet is just like the traditional setting where the same rules still apply. VPNs are one of the few areas the government will have to clean up, but there remain some that still function, yet users are facing even more anger on the speeds and the limited freedoms of the internet, making them reveal little trust to the Chinese government (Chen and Yang 22). Uncensored information can cause changes in students political attitude, as according to Chen and Yangr's experimentation, a 0-10 range score of 1.58 was the result for students trust in the government, where 10 is completely trusting the government (22).
What have these reviews indicated the effects of tight Internet censorship controls in China? First, there are a sufficient number of studies that show the impact of Chinese governmental power on what it controls, traditionally or digitally. Second, research findings analyzing the behaviors of Internet users have demonstrated that users are becoming what the government wants them to be in order to universalize all ideologies and views. Thoughts about the government are well-kept through the emergence of self-censorship, and access to open information leads users to be intact with positive issues on the regime. Although the conformance to governmental rules of censorship is found in most Internet users, explanations about political efficacy in Internet users are limited in these reviews.
With a better understanding of some Chinese Internet users behaviors and responses, the correlation and relationship between the Chinese government and the people online are clear. This strong relationship shows that increase of tighter controls will only continue to normal out the experience on the Internet, further indicating that reducing the strictness of censorship is not to be expected. The importance of analyzing the behaviors and responses of Chinese Internet users serve to show a majority of users to gradually mingle into one personality, which is the continuation of displaying similar ideals and solid compliance.
Tightening Internet Censorship for Chinese Users. (2019, Jun 10).
Retrieved March 3, 2024 , from
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