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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

April 13, 2006

Written by C.N.

How China Censors the Internet

In a land of over 1.3 billion people and hundreds of millions of Internet users, how does China manage to censor so much information being exchanged through websites, forums, and email? CNN has a special feature that illustrates the specific ways and mechanisms China’s communist government uses to accomplish all of that censorship:

E-mail is filtered by service providers. The method is based on the same technology that blocks spam. Body text and subject lines are scanned and blocked if anything objectionable is found. . . . Chinese search engines monitor content by keyword and remove offending Web sites.

When people request banned content through Chinese search engines like Baidu and Yisou, the filtering system disconnects them. Blogs, discussion forums, and bulletin boards are very popular in China. They’re heavily filtered by keyword blocks. Blogs’ service providers do not let posts with certain words be published, and blogs are also censored manually.

As the feature shows, censorship is serious business for the Chinese government, who are aided by foreign companies (most of the biggest ones like Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google, are American) in an elaborate method of controlling access to information. These companies have been under intense scrutiny by the federal government, but I seriously doubt that human rights will win over capitalism in this case.

This level of systematic repression and totalitarian control is almost breathtaking in its size and scope.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "How China Censors the Internet" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2006/04/how-china-censors-the-internet/> ().

Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=233