“If you killed all the peoples that are willing to spoke out the problem, then there won’t be any more problems. Right?” On the first it might seem like a silly joke, but it’s what’s happening right now inside the Great Wall of China. Ever since it’s creation from the late 1990s, it basically changes the entire Chinese internet environment.
After the internet become more and more popular in China. The debt between internet freedom (include things like freedom of speech, search, etc.) and the government’s strong will & action towards censorship on content quickly turns into a non-intentional fierce competition. There are peoples fighting for the freedom of browsing the internet while others are slowly drained by the government-localized censored internet environment.
The Great Firewall is originally a tool made by the “Father of the Great Firewall” Fang Bing Xin (1) under the command of Chinese government. As part of the sub structure of the “Golden Shield” (1) Project. It’s main propose is to reinforce the government's censorship by first blocking a massive number of websites like Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook and so. Preventing the new knowledge and ideas from coming in. Afterward the government funds up their own local alternative such as Ten Cent and Baidu for example. To ensure that people’s “freedom of speech” is all under the government's control. And those who tried to challenge it, falls under the government's force, making it impossible to speak up against their decisions. Therefore, our future.
Firstly, To maintain the power of the Great Firewall, violent forces were being used against those who try to bypass the restrictions (or, as an Official statement, the “Filter”). One of the examples being a team of developer who was working on a VPN (Virtual Private Network) solution called “Shadow socks” to bypass the restrictions. Was being forced to pull their repository from the code sharing website GitHub after Policies breaks into their apartment and arrested them. (2) The entire team then disappeared from the police station. Leading many to believe that they were unofficially jailed or murdered by the government. (3) It’s a dark time for the development community, a lot of peoples paused their development for few months to prevent themselves from being the target of the government. But thankfully though, the project was later picked up by another team of foreign developers and is now continues to grow against the Great Firewall (or as a representative to the government’s censorship.)
Secondly, The buildup of Chinese-based Controllable Social Network also plays as a big part of the plan. After the blocking of Google (1), the government raised a Chinese company called Baidu to replace the original search engine. Which offers selectively censored search results on their website. Other replacement also existed such as WeChat/QQ (as a censored Facebook & messenger) Weibo (censored Twitter) NetEase email & music (Censored mailing service & streaming service) a so on. The difference between the two is very simple. While offering almost the same functionality. The Chinese version is completely open for any kind of inspection the government wanted to do regardless of the privacy terms / statement. But with that said, most people in China doesn’t have a sense of privacy at all. Especially the new generations. They were growing up in a censored internet environment that offers only the contents & thoughts the Chinese government want them to know. Leaving them isolated from the rest of the world. Also, after some questionable law changes have been made by President Xi Jinping. It’s now required everyone to sign up any online services using their real name. Which makes tracking them down more easily.
In conclusion though. The Great Firewall works “great” for the government to control their citizens' online activity & knowledge. But is it worth it to spending countless amount of time making people more stupid. Or to open their minds of the real world? Only times can tell.
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