China Imposes Censorship on Web Content

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Deng Xiaoping was Chinese Paramount Leader from 1978 to 1992.
Deng Xiaoping was Chinese Paramount Leader from 1978 to 1992. | Source

Web censorship

Chinese government has imposed a censorship on the web contents of all internet web sites in China. The government cites a lot of negative news as the reason for its imposing censorship. The censorship includes not only websites but also blogs and emails. Of late, Chinese media has been quoting various websites as the source of its news content. The government has also banned using cell phone messages received from abroad as the source of the news.

Communist Party scared of Internet news

The Communist Party of China has called for strict supervision over journalism in order to keep its control over the nation. The Chinese government fears that if Chinese people read or watch the outside news like the Arab Spring, they will also develop an eagerness for getting freedom. That may turn against the government and the Communist Party. The government feels that censorship of the Internet is the best form of denying the people an opportunity to watch outside news.

Tiananmen Square 1989

China and North Korea are the only two communist countries in the world. Communism died in all the other countries long back. Even without the internet access, Chinese students staged a demonstration in the Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. Chinese military cracked down on the students and killed hundreds of them in order to suppress the discontent. In 1989, Internet and computer usage had not developed in China.

Unrest in Tibet and Xingjian

China is also worried that the outside news could incite Tibetans and the Xingjian Muslims to organise a riot against the Chinese government for securing their freedom. China captured Tibet in 1959 and is unable to digest it fully. Dalai Lama, who ran away from Potala Palace in Lhasa, secured political asylum in India. He is running a government-in-exile from Dharmasala, Himachal Pradesh State in India. Even recently, some Tibetans committed suicide. Tibet is at boiling point. Anything can start a widespread agitation against the Chinese government, which had been repressing the Tibetans since its capture.

Connection between Uighur Muslims and Pakistani terrorists

Xingjian Province in China is the home to millions of Uighur Muslims. These Muslims speak Turkish language and have been denied their freedom and rights by the Chinese government. Of late, terrorists from Pakistan have infested into Xingjian and there have been bomb explosions in Xingjian. Chinese government is worried about this trend also.

Hundred million Chinese die in Cultural Revolution

Apart from the Tibetans and the Uighur Muslims, the majority of the Chinese population wants to taste freedom and democracy. Communist repression in China started in 1949 when Mao Tse Tung succeeded in toppling the Kuomintang Party Chief Chiang Kai Sheikh in 1949. Chiang Kai Sheikh took asylum in Formosa Island, presently called as Taiwan. China had been claiming that Taiwan belongs to it. Mao started what he called as Cultural Revolution in the sixties. More than hundred million Chinese were killed by the Red Army in the purging that was ordered as part of the Cultural Revolution.

Communist Party has a complete grip on Chinese people

After Mao Tse Tung’s death in the mid seventies and after a period of uncertainty created by the so called Gang of the Four including Mao’s wife, Deng Xiao Ping assumed charge as the head of the State. He introduced capitalism in the economic policies of China. But Deng Xiao Ping and his successors never relaxed their grip on the political front and allowed Communist Party of China to have a firm grip over the Chinese people. All the print media in China is under the government and the Party control. Therefore nobody can publish or read any news against the Chinese government or the Communist Party of China.

Internet revolution sparks interests for web news among Chinese

But the Internet revolution unleashed a new problem. Chinese people had access to various websites that published true information. Various photos and videos were displayed in the Net. All these information started worrying the minds of the authorities. Of course, language was a barrier. Almost all information against the Chinese government was published in languages like English, French, and German etc which the Chinese people could not understand. But in the last five or six years, technology has taken a great leap. Translation softwares have arrived everywhere. Chinese people could use one of these softwares and understand the meaning of the news displayed in English or French. In fact, Google has a site in which the translated version appears side by side with the original version.

Translation softwares make news understandable to Chinese

Many journalists and individuals translate English news into Chinese and display it in their blogs. This trend has alarmed the Chinese government. They were not unduly worried as long as the information came in English or other languages. But once information has started entering into China in Chinese language with these translation versions, the government has started taking back and noticing it. It was not that these translated versions were very accurate in grammar and syntax. In fact, no software can give a perfect and ideal translation from one language to another. Human intervention is always needed to achieve this. But even the imperfectly translated versions with many grammatical, spelling and syntax mistakes have started attracting Chinese people. They have propped up their thinking. The government got scared that an Arab Spring could be enacted in Beijing with the help of Internet. After all, Internet played a great role in the successful conclusion of the Arab Spring protests in countries like Algeria, Libya and Egypt.

Chinese government living on borrowed time?

But the Chinese government will be living in a fool’s paradise if it thinks that it can suppress the aspirations of the Chinese people for too long. In Myanmar it may be possible to do so because it is a tiny country and the military junta has a grip over the nation. But in vast China, even a spark can ignite civil riots and protests will swell against the government. Probably the Chinese government is living on borrowed time.


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