The Chinese government has been tightening its cyber-noose. Its officials fear the ideas that can proliferate so easily on the Internet. So they’re making it ever harder for citizens to use the Net — even to visit nonpolitical websites.
Multiple-choice question: The new restrictions mean that Web surfers will have a harder time a) viewing pornography; b) watching streaming TV shows; c) starting an Internet-based business or personal web site; d) criticizing the Chinese government; or e) all of the above?
The answer is “all of the above.”
This year, China has blocked Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and many other sites. The latest round of restrictions has resulted in the shutdown of some 700 homegrown sites. Chinese dictocrats talk about combating pornography or piracy to justify restrictions that have a much wider scope. But they also freely admit their eagerness to block the flow of ideas they call “bad,” which is to say, inconvenient to themselves. China’s public security minister complains that the Internet “has become an important avenue” for “anti-China” forces.
Beijing can’t stamp out the Internet altogether. But it can certainly keep cooking up new ways to boil it down to an easier-to-control (or comprehend) size.
Chinese citizens who are determined to keep resisting the tyrants need more and better technology to circumvent the firewalls, and to protect their own anonymity and privacy.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.