Most people are well aware that China isn’t known for its freedom of speech. In fact, the country is home to the Great Firewall of China, which is renowned for online censorship and restricting access to certain services. It seems the Chinese government is fortifying this firewall once again, which is not surprising. The 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is almost upon us.
More Chinese Internet Restrictions are put in Place
It is neither the first nor the last time we will see China enforce strict censorship upon internet users. Ever since China got connected to the World Wide Web, the government has actively tried to prevent people from spreading too much information about the country. Moreover, rules have been put in place to ensure people can’t access specific content or services. In most cases, these restrictions are easily bypassed by using a VPN.
That is no longer possible either, as the government is cracking down on VPN service providers and users alike. It is evident there is a growing fear among officials that the internet may paint a worrisome picture of the country and its inner workings. Especially now that the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party is preparing to kick off next week, countermeasures need to be taken.
More specifically, sources claim President Xi Jinping will not hesitate to enforce certain new rules. The goal is to increase his influence and control over the Party itself and how the internet is used within the country. With censorship having reached new all-time highs already, it is troublesome to think about what the Chinese government may attempt to do next in this regard. Indeed, online expression is being scrutinized more than any other form of internet activity right now.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have seen privacy advocates fight the good fight and seek to oppose governmental restrictions. So far, the uphill battle has not gone all that well, although things are slowly heading in a better direction. For every small victory the privacy advocates chalk up, there are a handful of even stricter countermeasures to contend with. Censorship is never the answer, but neither is communism.
It is expected online group chats, for instance, will need to contend with even more censorship-driven methods in the future. Any administrator of such a group now has to police their friends’ conversations under the current laws. It is unclear how even more severe laws could be introduced in this regard, but rest assured the Chinese government will have a few cards to play.
All of this goes to show the Chinese government is interested in meddling with people’s daily lives first and foremost. It’s a rather strange approach, considering the government has plenty of other issues on its plate to tackle in the coming months and years. Then again, one has to acknowledge the countermeasures being taken are a sign of sophistication one wouldn’t necessarily expect from this government. It will be interesting to see how things play out in the coming days and weeks.