Transparency in Censorship

China Filtering Closeup

China Filtering Closeup

I am privileged to have the opportunity to travel to Korea and China as the chaperone for a school trip. While I knew that some websites would be blocked, I was surprised by the transparency with which censorship is practiced in China. I have to wonder how long websites such as You Tube, Twitter, and Facebook will continue to be blocked. People are clearly aware of the existence of social media websites. The Freedom of Information Act can be touted as a reason for the importance of permitting an unrestricted exchange of information. What surprises me is the failure of the Chinese government to see the potential marketing avenues that exist through the use of social media.

China Filtering

China Filtering

YouTube Fail

YouTube Fail

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4 thoughts on “Transparency in Censorship

  1. I know from a Chinese friend here that China actually has their own social media network. She says that it’s incredibly popular and nearly all of her friends in China are on it. My assumption is that the government does see value in social networking, but that they want to be able to control it so allowing a version that is monitored by the government is a more viable option than allowing Facebook. I’m curious how that would be affected (or not affected) by a mass public outcry similar to what Egypt has gone through in the last few years… i.e. how quickly would they be able to censor and quell mass dissatisfaction?

    The thing I find especially interesting about blocking sites in any given region though is that there are so many ways around the restrictions! When traveling and staying in hotels it’s definitely not so easy, but I have several friends who live in China and use Facebook all of the time. It’s fairly common to use a service that routes you around the system. I’m sure not everyone does this, but the censorship in China definitely isn’t keeping everyone under control.

    I agree with you about potential marketing avenues…especially international ones. As a country who is involved in an extensive amount of international business, you’d think there would be more push to be a part of the mass social networking trends that span the world.

    I hope you had a great trip!

  2. Expats living in China usually subscribe to a virtual private network service; these provide encrypted connections to points outside China and then these folks can browse as if on the open Internet.

    The transparency you see is, I suspect, unique to non-Chinese visitors (Chinese are already aware of the Great Firewall … it’s a fact of life). I could be wrong, though.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. It makes me sad. It also concerns me for because I want the globe to be our classroom – and wherever you are you should have access. Glad there are workarounds.

  4. Such an interesting post. I have read about the internet censorship in China but your blog post is very informative and as our professor said, sad. I am sorry that the rest of world can’t have the access we enjoy.

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