It’s very common knowledge that Internet Access in China is quite censored. I never knew exactly how much, but always found it heartening when I found a Chinese person stumbling upon a Scientology-related blog of mine, etc — as I never know what content of mine is going to be deemed “subversive” to the Chinese government. Now, you can check such things on http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/test/ – a site that tries to pull your website down from a server in China, and can tell if it’s blocked or not.
The filter used by the People’s Republic of China is actually the largest firewall and security system in the world, which actively filters all inbound and outbound traffic out of the country of China. Called the Golden Shield Project (which you can get details on from Answers.com) the filter does quite a bit of work to filter your content.
Now, on this site, I tested a few URL’s, just for curiosity. The first one that I would have thought would have been blocked is http://www.freedommag.org – the Scientology publication most outspoken about psychiatry and various human rights abuses. However, this one went through just fine. The CCHR website (also very loudly outspoken about psychiatry) also went through. I guess the Chinese government has no trouble with slamming psychiatry! The Scientology Volunteer Ministers site, also went through without a hitch.
Now, on the other hand, the www.youthforhumanrights.org, a site with some phenomenal public service announcements made to educate people on basic Human Rights, is most assuredly BLOCKED. I guess they consider that as “subversive”. Likewise, L. Ron Hubbard’s common-sense moral code, “The Way to Happiness” is completely blocked. This is no doubt due to the precept in The Way to Happiness of ‘Support a Government Designed and Run for All the People‘. Probably not what they’re looking for.
While the hardware of such a massive proxy system intrigues me as an engineer, I can’t help but think what knowledge and help is being denied the Chinese people by such a filter. Sure, there’s no problem whatever filtering out pornography, etc., but filtering out a moral code which has single-handedly stopped wars and gotten people back together, and has saved nations — that doesn’t seem like a great idea to me.
Comments are very welcome on this one.
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So it’s OK to filter out stuff *you* personally don’t like (pornography), but not let the Chinese do the same? Sounds like a double-standard to me.
Thanks for sharing this. http://www.greatfirewallofchina.org/ is providing an important service to help the rest of the world put pressure on China to reform. Hopefully none of those involved in creating the site live in China. I hate the think about the danger they are putting themselves in if they are.
Pardon me if I make a differentiation between pornography and Youth for Human Rights. One may think that’s a double standard, but in my mind there’s a large difference between filtering smut, and filtering out a group which is there to ensure basic human rights exist for all mankind.
It’s a bit like saying one has a double-standard kicking a stinky, drunk bum out of a nice restaurant, and then not kicking out the well-dressed, wholesome family that came in to eat.
In all fairness though, filtering ANYTHING at the network level, rather than the user or company level, is way beyond what a government should be doing. Any Internet user has a right to be able to see content that interests them. If a company doesn’t want their employees spending company time surfing off-topic sites, that’s their business to enforce — not the business of a government to say what knowledge their population can and cannot possess.
So interesting … I had no idea that there was such a firewall in China.
Makes total sense based on the Emotional level of the Society that they would not want anything that would help elevate the society and actually raise the standard of living. That way they might actually have some real thinking people on their hands. Science of Survival ALL the way.
Thanks for posting this!
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