Media Censorship in China

Here at TSG we have tended to concentrate on Tibetan issues, partly because we feel that is our calling, and partly because those issues are relatively well-known in the West. What has become apparent over the last few years is that the plight of conquered Tibet is part of a larger political batleground, one which centres-around the ruthless expansionist policies of the Chinese Communist Party, and one which has involved countless other human-rights violations on a scale similar to those which we know of in Tibet. 

More on this issue: Google and the Chinese Government (TechNewsWorld)

The equipment used to censor Chinese Internet-access is supplied mainly by American manufacturers - Sun, Nortel and Cisco being mentioned as sources. At a recent technology conference at the Hyatt Hotel in in Chicago, the Chinese Minister of Information, Wang Xudong, asked these and other firms to tender for very large and lucrative contracts involving this type of equipment, presumably with the aim of making the Internet-censorship event tighter still. These contracts could have a eventual value of several $billion.

New Scientist says:

Google has been blocked inside China since at least 2003. It also has emerged on that a second search engine Altavista is restricted. The action has come under criticism from western human rights groups and journalist's organisations. China's government routinely blocks access to news sites that host content they consider unacceptable, such as the BBC's news site. Web proxies including and, which can be used to view pages on one site through another, are also blocked.

The CCP rely heavily on an intensive, carefully-managed system of propaganda to keep the Chinese public on their side. Much of this propaganda contains gross inaccuracies or deliberate misrepresentations of the facts, so as to avoid any developments whereby the Chinese people might have grounds for criticising their leaders' actions. (To see examples of such propaganda, visit any Chinese Embassy's website) This propaganda not only whitewashes the less-savoury deeds of PLA forces in regions like Tibet, or in mainland labour-camps, it also seeks to vilify and criminalise any persons or groups seen to be possible opponents to Marxist policies.

An example of the successfulness of this propaganda is that many Chinese actually do believe that their country did Tibet a favour by ousting a "Mediaeval, superstitious, Imperialist" government and replacing it with one that gave the Tibetans "Modernisation" and progress. At the same time they have no idea what actually goes-on inside that conquered land, and most probably don't have the inclination to try and find-out.

The success of this propaganda-machine would be very-much diluted if Chinese citizens were able to read Western news-reports, and see that these differed substantially from the "Official" view of things. If that were to happen, not only would the people see the real truths which are obscured behind the propaganda, but they would also realise they their leaders are intentionally deceiving them. This would be an unthinkable blow to Marxist rule, one which must not be allowed to happen at any cost, hence the heavy censorship.

As one enlightened person recently put it, "The answer to the Tibetan problem will not be found in Tibet itself, but in the hearts and minds of the Chinese people." -That being quite likely true, the first stage of that process must surely be the lifting of the veil of deceit and misinformation from said people.

In view of the dark purpose this equipment will be put to, perhaps the companies involved in tendering for this contract should think a bit more carefully about what they're getting involved-in. Being a realist I'm sure they won't, that is unless someone puts pressure on them to place human suffering before profit!


Footnote: Wang Xudong is presently under a legal charge in connection with allegations of managing torture and brainwashing operations in his previous governmental capacities. That is the sort of person these companies are prepared to deal-with.


Harvard paper on Chinese Internet-filtering.