China is an empire with the fastes growing market that pulled them out of the dark days of the Cultural Revolution and spits them out as a fish out of water into the worlds largest internet market with 450 million users on-line. A great responsibility for Communistic China considering the question if free communication is a human right within their conventional political system. The ever lasting dilemma between freedom and security. On one hand the Chinese people do not believe they are ready for free access to all information and on the other hand the Politburo is fearing that freedom of communication will end up in chaos and subversion of the Communistic regime.
China’s government invented the “Golden Shield” or “Great Firewall”, this invisibility cloak that no one sees yet that can only be experienced when entering cyber space, is providing the government with the security that chaos and overthrow of the party will not happen. The “Golden Shield” is blocking words and searches on the internet and this changes from day to day. Specific words will only appear in a censored way, such as “Tibet” without the Dalai Lama, Tiananmen square without the tanks or Liu Xiaobo Nobel price winner described in a positive manner. The contractors, the internet providers and search engines, have to figure out themselves what filters to use to censor sensitive terms. For the internet users the “Golden Shield” is opaque, the contractors know perfectly well what and how to filter political, pornographically and extremely violent topics. If they do not filter, the government can put them out of business or impose heavy sanctions on them.
For the millions of internet users the “Golden Shield” is almost like a God. It’s invisible and one encounters it when crossing the line and searching for taboo topics and words. People do not know how this filtering is technically done, which places the “Golden Shield” within a mysterious perspective. China, where religion is non-existing, though people fear the shield as if it was an all-knowing and correcting entity at the same time. One that resembles God by taking away the responsibility of men and brainwashing them into thinking they cannot handle free flows of information on the internet.
Within this cultural climate of China, where the internet market is still fast growing, this country in 2005 became an object of interest for the biggest search machine in the world. Google a corporation with a free spirit that originated and was founded by hackers, decided to bring free communication to China. Google’s culture says that information should be free, therefore societies have the opportunity to become free. They overlooked the fact that China considers these kind of beliefs as ideology and therefore a threat to the regime. Bringing together Communism and Capitalism through free communication and information flows is basically impossible. Both systems are not capable of conforming themselves to each other. Google saw their weapon of free communication as a binding factor, while China saw it as a mass destruction weapon.
At a specific point this adventure of Google in China became a battle of 2 countries fighting for their own interpretation of freedom. When Hillary Clinton as the US government started interfering, suddenly the similarities of both countries according their approach to free internet and free communication were revealed.
Hillary Clinton said:
“But countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of the internet users, they risk walling themselves of from the progress of the next century.”
“Those who disrobed the free flow of information in our society or any other, pose a threat to any other economy, our government and our civil society. Countries or individuals that engage into cyber attacks should face consequences and international condemnation. In an internet connected world an attack on one nations it’s network can be an attack on all. Historical a-symetrical access to information is one of the leading causes of interstate conflict. “
The people in China placed some critical notes and called the US statement made by Hillary Clinton, US hypocrisy. They referred to the issues the US had with demanding information from Twitter and their reactions towards the scandal with WikiLeaks. The Chinese people accused the US of finger pointing while the US is doing the same as China, but in a different way.
The question to ask is if there exists such a thing as free communication/information and free access to all information available. Almost every country has a form of censorship under the disguise of cultural accepted taboo’s. Things like when there is too much sexual harassment on the internet, governments have no other choice then narrowing down the internet. This seems like acting from a point of being too late. When the starting point for the distribution of information is made in the best interest of all and when the political system of a country is acting in the best interest of all, there does not exist such a thing as different traditions and having to adopt the trading culture of the country your having your business in.
The Communist regime in China fears the empowerment of the people by giving them access to all available information. They come up with excuses as total chaos will occur. While they know that this chaos will only be there to overthrow their regime. The Capitalistic regimes will never admit they are censuring and when caught they justify it with general interest and an attack on the freedom the system provides.
The outflow of China’s attitude is having economical consequences. When the internet is restricted at the same time it will restrict economical growth and prohibit modernisation of society. Due to the financial crisis China’s industrial sector has been damaged, therefore they need to develop the low grade industry into a high grade industry. This process is only possible when innovative, talented foreign companies settle themselves in China. So an exchange of knowledge can take place and get the best out of different cultures.
Both countries are in many ways depending on one another, but will always see each other as enemies. Their own political and economical system has brainwashed them into nations that are fearful and have not even the desire to get closer together. They are not so much fighting each other with the weapon of free communication, they are playing out this money power game. Just following the money. Last year Google left China and settled in Hong Kong, they see a wide unexplored market where still a lot of money can be made. The 20% of market share Google left behind in China is taken by Baidu, China’s biggest provider. Baidu is now recruiting young Americans who speak Chinese, to come and work for them. Power is shifting financially and still nations see no reason to cooperate and work together, while only their systems and traditions are different, they are all human beings.
With an Equal Money System there is no fear for information, only that what is in the best interest of all will be shared. Everybody is able to see in common sense what is in the best interest of all. Who disagrees needs to check it’s starting points. In the best interest of all cannot differ, it’s always stable. Now people are cut off from the rest of the digital world by having no access to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Who need a “Golden Shield” or “God Shield”, when it’s obvious that specific information will not help us to develop ourselves and get the best out of life. When the Shield is based on fear and emotions it will never work, it will only be a smoke curtain, a veil of deception that is easily unmasked. World equality will bring us together without fear for the other and ourselves.
This is the link to a Dutch documentary about China: