Internet Censorship In China

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Introduction
The concept of Internet is one that is profound and free, yet it is controlled and censored almost every part of the world, and critically censored in a few countries (i.e. China, Iran, Cuba). In 2011, Freedom House ranked China as the fourth lowest country with the lowest levels of Internet and new media freedom (Freedom House, 2011). Censorship is defined as “the institution, system or practice of reading communication and deleting material considered sensitive or harmful” (Merriam Webster Dictionary).

According to Global Internet User Survey 2012 conducted by Internet Society, 96% of the people (sample size of about 10,000 from 20 different countries) agreed that Internet should allow access to users who seek any information
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However, “We are now in an age of information and know how important information is for our daily life. However, less known is the importance of information for nation-state building” (Yongnian, 2012).

Although Internet censorship prevents and hinders freedom of expression, it is an absolute necessity in China. “China’s Internet censorship has obvious protectionist effects” (Liu, 2011). It is a tool that the Chinese government employs to regulate information flow within the country as she opens her doors to the World. “China will become the next major player in geopolitics, making China a responsible member of the international community or an economic superpower that is capable of shaping the world” (Herrington, 2011).

The dispute between Google and China has surfaced weaknesses in China’s authoritarian regime to control information. However, China, a state-controlled society for centuries cannot be forced to accept and adopt concepts like freedom of expression in similar fashion as Western societies have done. China cannot be subjected to hegemonic domination by Google and has to adopt it on her own terms and pace. According to the Internet User Survey conducted in 2012, 71% agreed that censorship should exist in some form on the Internet (Internet Society, 2012). But the question remains, how much censorship should be present on the
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Many countries and societies in the World have reaped the benefits of the advancements in the digital age. “However, in some totalitarian regimes, technology has often been perceived as a formidable opponent in the struggle to maintain the status quo. The intended benefits for new technologies are often met with unforeseen consequences” (Leberknight, 2010).

According to the 2010 Chinese government white paper – The Internet in China, “The Internet is seen as indispensible for education, poverty alleviation, and the efficient conveyance of government information and services to the public. The development of a vibrant, indigenous Internet and telecommunications sector is also considered critical for China's long-term global economic competitiveness” (SCIO, 2010). Therefore, in order for China to continue prospering and flourishing, she has to begin loosening her Internet censorship laws but definitely not to the extent of absolute freedom of
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