Internet censorship in china essay

The government actively filters the information posted in the social media and digital news. Some journalists and citizens are arrested on the grounds of cyber impropriety. In fact, China has the greatest number of arrests of journalists and Internet dissidents. This is limiting and depriving to a very great extent for the people of China to use their right to access information, and also their freedom of expression.


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The government authorities not only block website content but also monitor Internet activities of individuals. The number of Internet police officers is estimated to be more than Monitoring of individual activities and their access to the Internet is a violation of the individual's right for privacy.

The right for privacy is a fundamental human right and is the right to be let alone Glenn, Every person has the right for privacy which should be respected by all governments and people. The government is further violating the rights of the Chinese people by trampling on their freedom. Fines and arrests are becoming optional punishment for people who express or access undesirable material through the different platforms on the Internet as this is viewed as a genesis to social instability Wortzel, Numerous Chinese people are under house arrest and others are in prisons because of the Internet censorship system of the Chinese government.

Internet censorship suppresses democracy, transparency and good governance. By totally controlling the access to and sharing of information, the government of China facilitates an autocratic system of governance that violently suppresses any forms of criticism or opposition. Situations that could raise eye blows among the citizens or even the international community are either downplayed or not given media coverage at all.

Though China has the second largest and the fastest growing economy in the world, poor governance and oppression of citizens can bring the country into destruction. The way that the Chinese government is trying to solve issues by preventing social unrest is not healthy at all.

People value their freedom more than anything else and can do anything to get their freedom. On the other hand, the move of the Chinese government to censor the Internet in the country is justifiable. The government has the right to control and govern the Internet according to its own rules and laws within the borders.

Study of Internet censorship reveals the deepest fears of China's government | Science | AAAS

China is a country with the largest population in the world and it is not very easy to govern many people. The Chinese government has long kept tight reins on both traditional and new media to avoid potential subversion of its authority. Its tactics often entail strict media controls using monitoring systems and firewalls, shuttering publications or websites, and jailing dissident journalists, bloggers, and activists.

Censorship and Freedom of Expression. Digital Policy.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping came to power, censorship of all forms of media has tightened. Experts say Chinese media outlets usually employ their own monitors to ensure political acceptability of their content. The government is particularly keen on blocking reports of issues that could incite social unrest, like official corruption, the economy, health and environmental scandals, certain religious groups, and ethnic strife. Restrictions have been also placed on micro-blogging services, often in response to sensitive subjects like corruption, including rumors of an attempted coup in Beijing involving the disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai.

Ng says that the various ministries once functioned as smaller fiefdoms of control, but have recently been more consolidated under the State Council Information Office, which has taken the lead on internet monitoring. Additionally, the CPD gives media outlets editorial guidelines as well as directives restricting coverage of politically sensitive topics. While staff and censors reached a compromise that theoretically intended to relax some controls, much of the censorship remained in place. The Chinese government deploys myriad ways of censoring the internet. China requires foreign correspondents to obtain permission before reporting in the country and has used this as an administrative roadblock to prevent journalists from reporting on potentially sensitive topics like corruption and, increasingly, economic and financial developments.

Under Xi, the ability of foreign journalists and international news outlets to travel and access to sources have shrunk. The treatment of foreign reporters has become a diplomatic issue. Although not all regulations are enforced against every possible individual or entity arguably in violation of the rules — to do so would be almost impossible, given the breadth and vagueness of certain provisions — nonetheless the legal framework does have a significant and immediate impact on the amount of information available online, and the extent to which the Internet can be used as a vehicle for free expression by individual Chinese.

The Provisions cover the creation and management of news websites, and are the first new regulations on news websites since the issuance of the Interim Provision on the Administration of Internet Web Sites Engaged in News Posting Operations in The Provisions also make repeated reference to restrictions found in other relevant regulations, thus fully integrating China's Internet law and assuring that virtually all restrictions apply to all situations. In the first section, the Provisions on News Information Services make clear that the purpose of news websites is not to inform the public of the facts, but instead to "serve socialism" and to "safeguard the nation's interests and the public interest.

Prior Chinese government censorship practices suggest the effect of Article 19 extends well beyond the narrow band of information that might truly incite hatred or disturb social order. Instead, such provisions are implemented in a way to prohibit all reporting that reflects a line different from the official government position, or contains information that the government deems too embarrassing, or is too candid in its discussion of particularly entrenched social problems.

Equally important are the registration requirements created by the Provisions. In general, news information websites must be part of the official media system, and must register with the government in order to begin operation. The Provisions envision a system in which most news websites are extensions of currently-existing news units, although the provisions do allow for a situation in which a non-News Work Unit can establish a new site.

Michael Anti: Behind the Great Firewall of China

Such websites are not permitted to do their own reporting, and are instead limited to reprinting news stories generated by other media outlets. Permission to create a news information website is granted by the SCIO, or, in some cases, the information office at the provincial level. The Provisions also create clear legal authority to engage in extensive supervision of news websites. Under Article 4 of the Provisions, supervisory authority is shared by the SCIO and the provincial government information offices.

Both the SCIO and the relevant provincial government information office are empowered to carry out "on-site inspections" of the entities set up under the provisions, 41 and can carry out an "examination" of the entity if it is deemed necessary to do so. Finally, the penalties laid out in the Provisions are significant. Websites that carry news they are not authorized to carry — news stories produced by their own staff, for example — can be fined anywhere from RMB10, to RMB30, U.

There are no provisions on reduced liability for content that has already been published in another official media source, which means that news websites have to make an independent judgment as to whether news material is within the broad confines of Article 19; the fact that the story has already been published elsewhere, and therefore presumably approved by the authorities, provides no legal cover.

The broad content restrictions found in Chinese Internet law and reiterated by the Provisions are impossible to reconcile with the free speech protections found in international law. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

Although the Internet is a new medium, the fact that online speech is covered by the ICCPR and other relevant human rights instruments is reflected in the January comments of then-UN special rapporteur on the protection and promotion of freedom of opinion and expression, Abid Hussein:.

Internet Censorship in China

As regards the impact of new information technology on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, the Special Rapporteur considers it of pre-eminent importance that they be considered in light of the same international standards as other means of communication and that no measures be taken which would unduly restrict freedom of expression and information; in case of doubt, the decision should be in favour of free expression and flow of information.

With regard to the Internet, the Special Rapporteur wishes to reiterate that on-line expression should be guided by international standards and be guaranteed the same protection as is awarded to other forms of expression. Under international law, governments are allowed to restrict the free flow of information to protect certain narrowly determined interests such as national security or public morals.

But any decision to limit or restrict access to information should comport with international standards for protecting the right to information. Prior censorship in particular is severely disfavored in international law, and not permitted in many constitutional systems. A decision to block access to online material should be subject to the highest level of scrutiny, with a burden on the government to demonstrate that censorship would effectively avert a threat of irreparable, imminent, and weighty harm, and that less extreme measures are unavailable as alternatives to protect the state interest at issue.

At present, it seems apparent that China engages in no such scrutiny, and instead censors an immense amount of material that poses no threat to security whatsoever. The decision to censor certain material is often unreviewable, just as the decision to punish certain online speakers merely for exercising their right to speak freely online is arbitrary and unpredictable.

In addition to provisions that limit content and provisions that place severe restrictions on who can and cannot gather and report news, other Internet regulations go beyond granting broad oversight powers and actually compel certain entities to enable themselves to spy on all Internet users at all times.

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The Rules on Internet Security Protection Technology Measures, issued by the Ministry of Public Security in December , obligate Internet Service Providers and work units that use certain technologies to develop the capacity to track and record the movements of individuals using their service to go online. Article 9 2 of the Rules, for example, creates a legal obligation for ISPs to maintain the technological capability to "record and retain information content and time of dissemination for providers of news, publishing, and electronic bulletin services.

Regulations like these undercut the right to privacy of Chinese web users.

Official Media Policy

Freedom from arbitrary and unlawful interference with one's privacy and correspondence is protected both under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 47 and applies to electronic communications, including email and newsgroup postings, as well as electronic forms of personal data retained about individuals.

Interference that is capricious, unjust or disproportionate would be "arbitrary," as would interference for a purpose inimical to the protection of human rights more generally, such as inhibiting peaceful dissent. States may not randomly or freely intercept or monitor email or Internet usage. As all persons live in society, the protection of privacy is necessarily relative.

However, the competent public authorities should only be able to call for such information relating to an individual's private life the knowledge of which is essential in the interests of society as understood under the Covenant. A decision to make use of such authorized interference must be made only by the authority designated under the law, and on a case-by-case basis. By requiring ISPs to maintain the capability to read the communications of individuals communicating online, and even to be able to keep records of which websites individual netizens choose to visit, the Chinese government is seriously infringing on the privacy rights of its own people.

As with violations of freedom of expression discussed above, no particularized determination is made; rather all users are subject to scrutiny. In addition to the Internet regulations themselves, there are many broader structural problems with China's legal system that prevent the emergence of a more liberal Internet law regime. One key stumbling block to improved Internet regulation in China is the absence of any enforceable norms against which Internet regulations can be measured. Although the Chinese constitution explicitly protects the right to free expression, the right to privacy, and the right to engage in academic research, 49 the constitution itself is not directly enforceable, and therefore regulations that clearly violate these rights escape any form of judicial scrutiny.

The overall institutional weakness and lack of independence of Chinese courts also plays a key role. Because most courts in China receive the majority of their funding from the local government, 50 they are often unable or unwilling to deliver a verdict contrary to the local expectations, especially in politically sensitive cases. Courts are also subject to both government and Communist Party authority, and must please both masters.

Finally, once an individual has been arrested and charged with a criminal offense in relation to his or her use of the Internet, the serious shortcomings of the criminal justice system in China come into play. Mechanisms for protecting key basic rights, including the right to a fair trial, the right to legal counsel, and the right to presumption of innocence, have yet to be fully integrated into the Chinese legal system, 52 which means that an individual arrested for violating any laws relating to the Internet that carry criminal penalties will find it difficult to obtain a fair trial.

However, this argument would require, among other things, that the services provided by these companies to Chinese users enable greater access to information than they would be able to receive from their domestic Chinese competitors. A comparison by Human Rights Watch of the three companies' search engines with Baidu, China's most popular domestic search engine, indicates that while Google. To illustrate the situation, Human Rights Watch color-coded and tabulated the search results for twenty-five URLs web addresses across Google.

China at cn. Websites for a few organizations that the Chinese government views favorably or neutrally were also included Harvard.

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