The Great Firewall of China

One of the things we realize when we arrive in China is the huge number of website that we can’t visit anymore without using a VPN. Indeed, Chinese government use a severe firewall to restrict the access to Internet content. Anything that doesn’t please the Chinese Communist Party is definitely ban.

This project has been undertaken more than 10 years ago in 2003 and has been called the « Golden Shield Project ». This decision has been raising protest inside but mostly outside of the Middle Kingdom upon all the civil and human rights. Nevertheless, none country decided to raise their voice against China which is becoming more powerful than ever.

It is the China’s Ministry of Public Security that decided to start this censorship and surveillance especially on the most common social media website : Weibo. Also knows as the Chinese Facebook. Here are several words that can’t be used on Weibo :

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1. Sex or any other « sex » related term like 18+

Because of culturals and demographics reasons, Chinese authorities are restless about sex when it comes to the public sphere. In fact, because of the one-child policy, there are way much more men than women in China. Moreover, the average for having sex for the first time in China is 22 years old which is one of the highest in the world with other Asian country. Therefore, the government is attempting to ban all online porn.

Boy watches as Muslims attend prayer session at mosque during Eid al-Fitr in Lanzhou

2. Islam or Muslim

China is a huge country with a lot of different tribes and communauties. They don’t share all the same religion so there are some ongoing tension between Beijing and some provinces like the Western’s one that are constitute of Musilm. Therefore, the Muslim religious practices and cultural customs are being kicked out of the Chinese Internet.

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3. Marijuana or any other drugs

The jurisdiction of Chinese authorities when it comes to drug is really tough. If you are caught using or in possession of Marijuana, you are not only risking imprisonment, you are also risking your life. Maybe it is because of the opium wars and the defeat of China by the time but nowadays, the Chinese government is intolerant with drug trafficking or drog use in the territory. So searching Marijuana online is obviously impossible.

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4. Parade, march, strike or even conflict

The only parades that are allow and not stoped by the army, are the militaristic one. Stricking is against the law and no big meeting are being able except if they are for the Chinese Communist Party itself. Moreover, the government wants to avoid terrorism or be the target of protests or discontent. Conflict about political resolution are being dodge as well. Thus, it is impossible to organize a strike or anything like it on Weibo or other social media in general.

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5. Resign

Politics in China are manipulating and corrupted. Therefore, if one of the politician has to resign, it will create debate and reflect a negative attention on the Communist Party. So except he has been taken has an exemple for corruption or targeted by a powerful party leader, it is very unlikely that politician resign. Hence, the searches for it are all blocked.

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6. Satellite TV

It is forbidden to possess a satellite TV home unless for hotels, the media and some foreigners if they ask for it. Why ? Because China has still a strict legislation about their education books just as regular books allowed in the country. Naturally, searches for satellite providers are thwarted on Weibo.

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7. Evolution

This last word is a bit weird to censor, but China probably think about this word in reference to « political evolution » and thus come out on Western democracy.

  • Also, this article should light you up on the way to use correctly social media in China.