The Web Censorship Should Be Abolished In China Communications Essay


Today, there is an unprecedented censorship over the WorldWideWeb in the mainland of the Peoples Republic of China. Web sites that discuss the Dalai Lama, the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters, Falun Gong, the banned spiritual movement and other issues considered to be sensitive by the government are not available for people in the mainland of China. The result for the search names and URLs related to such topics typed in is a page saying: Connection Reset. People who live in the mainland of China are simply not allowed to read about certain information and to share ideas through community sites like Twitter and Hotmail so that they cannot organise protests and share their ideas connected to politics and religion with each other easily. This is an unjust governmental decision which has many negative effects, therefore I suggest that all Chinese citizens should be allowed to find search results, read articles, and publish posts on the Internet without any limitations by the authorities.

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Mainland Chinese people do not have fewer rights than the citizens of Hong Kong, the US, or any other countries. In fact, they have as many rights as all the other people because everyone has the right to obtain information through the means of communication they are provided for their money (the Internet). Even the Secretary of State of today's world's most successful democracy, Hillary Clinton raised attention to the communist features of the censorship: "Clinton likened online censorship by countries such as China, Vietnam and Iran to the rise of communist Europe, warning that a new 'information curtain' threatened to descend on the world unless action to protect internet freedoms was taken." (McGreal, "Hillary Clinton criticizes Beijing over Internet censorship") Certainly not everyone is interested in those particular political and religious topics that are not available on the Internet in the mainland of China, but those who are should definitely be allowed to use their basic human rights to seek and receive information, as this right is entitled to all humans. Chinese people did not even earn the government's rigour as there was not such an ostentatious action against the country's governance that has not happened in any other country. Hence, there are no sensible reasons to deprive Chinese citizens from the above mentioned web services.

Filtering the content of the Internet and heavily censoring the available sites do not gain trust for the government; it rather makes people more and more suspicious, which might lead to unfavourable results. The fact that people are not allowed to read about the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters or other sensitive political or religious issues does not mean that they do not know about them. People are completely aware of the fact that the government is concealing certain pieces of information from them about religious and political issues and this can cause at least as many indignation as reading about the events. Such censorship would be reasonable (however, still unjust) if people did not even know about the things that are concealed by the government. People are already starting to protest against the overwhelming censorship: "This resistance is taking many forms, from lawsuits by Internet users against government-owned service providers, claiming that the blocking of sites is illegal, to a loose but growing network of software writers who develop code aimed at overcoming the restrictions.". (French, "Chinese begin to protest censorship of Internet") It can be clearly seen, that the censorship generates such movements that are very unfavourable for the Chinese government.

The blocking of blogs and community sites such as Twitter and YouTube not only infringes the basic concept of the freedom to seek and receive information but also the freedom of opinion and expression. The following article stands in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the General Assembly of the United Nations: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." (The Universal Declaration of Human Rights) However, the Chinese government ignored these rights: "Chinese censors blocked access to Twitter and other popular online services today, two days before the 20th anniversary of the crackdown on democracy protests in Tiananmen Square." (Branigan, "China blocks Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail ahead of Tiananmen anniversary") The government blocked the community sites because it was afraid of people with the same beliefs coming together and perhaps organising movements. Still, people have the basic human right to use the means of communication that are provided by the development of technology. The government should also take into consideration that the blocking of several community sites might lead to the discontent of the people, and it might give them a new subject to protest against. In addition, if people are deprived from the quick and easy means of organising protests, they can still organise them; it will take more time and energy, but if they are deeply indignant then the lack of community sites will not be enough to stop them. There had been riots far before the spreading of the Internet, so when the discontent of the people reaches a certain level, they will find a way to organise movements.

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Some might say that  Google should abide by Chinese laws in China, but as freedom to seek and receive information is a basic human right defined by international conventions, Chinese people should definitely be allowed to acquire as much information as any other users of the Internet. It is true that the current laws of the People's Republic of China are obligatory for every citizen and so are they for the Chinese branch-offices of web pages, but the government should take into consideration whether the law censoring the content of the Internet itself is just or not. There are no sensible reasons for separating Chinese people from the other people in the world and not letting them use the means of communication and information (the Internet) as they would otherwise be able to use it. There is nothing else dividing them from reading the articles and interacting with each other on community sites than an arbitrary governmental decision, which is unjust, infringes basic human rights and sooner or later might lead to unnecessary rioting.

Chinese people have as many rights as any other person, what is more, heavily censoring the content of the Internet makes people suspicious towards their government and infringes basic human rights, therefore, the government's censorship over the web should be abolished in the mainland of China, so that all Chinese people will be able to use the Internet as freely as any other citizens of the world.

McGreal, Chris and Johnson, Bobbie. "Hillary Clinton criticizes Beijing over Internet censorship" Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited,  21 Jan. 2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2010.

French, Howard W. "Chinese begin to protest censorship of Internet" The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 4 Feb. 2008. Web. 18 Apr. 2010.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. United Nations. United Nations 2010. United Nations. Web. 18 Apr. 2010.

Branigan, Tania. "China blocks Twitter, Flickr and Hotmail ahead of Tiananmen anniversary"

Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited, 2 Jun. 2009. Web. 18 Apr. 2010.