The use of the phrase “Great Firewall” as a likeness to the Great Wall of China, refers more so to the Great Firewall’s deficiencies than its efficacy as a sturdy barricade to the spreading of certain types of information and media sources in China. Both worldwide and Chinese media use it as a blanket term with ironic connotations. It refers to projects and legislation started by the Chinese government, which is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, that endeavors to control the Internet and is in fact the main apparatus used to achieve Internet censorship throughout the whole of Mainland China. The CCP policy includes criminalizing specific online speech and behaviors, disabling viewing websites, and filtering key words out of searches searched from devices situated in Mainland China. In 1997 the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s exclusive legislative body, passed a law that criminalizes “cyber crimes”.
There have been hundreds of web sites that the government has blocked number and they range from the obvious (that of Falun Gong, a quasi-religious group that China banned in 1999) to the unlikely innocent English-language web sites such as The New York Times and Washington Post which were blocked until 2002. Get this, phrases and words such as “democracy” and “Tiananmen Square massacre” are actually filtered out from searches through agreements with search providers like Google. So it’s fair to say that it is illegal to know what a democracy even is!
Websites such as ‘The Great Firewall of China’ allow people living outside of China to trial “any website and see real-time if it’s censored in China”. It is a way to view websites from the standpoint of a Chinese user. The Great Firewall is a supplementary indication of China’s aspiration to construct an Internet environment that it can have total control over. These web filters work as a dual purpose in scanning out content that is considered critical of the Chinese government and simultaneously provides safeguard for China’s own developing web firms hostile to larger and stronger overseas rivals.
But with the implication of the Great Firewall analogy, like the Great Wall of China, will it in due course be unsuccessful as a shielding fortress? Let me know what you think in the comment section below!
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