China has two “great walls” – the Great Wall and the Great Firewall. Both are counted among the world’s “greatest”, but for different reasons. The Great Wall was built as a defence against enemies, while the Great Firewall is like a prison wall.
It restricts the freedom of people inside China, putting them under surveillance and blocking them from knowing the real world. One recent example is the Swedish town “Falun”, which has its business operations frequently blocked because of the spelling of its name.
As recently reported by some non-Chinese media, a global corporation based in China discovered it always lost it’s Internet connection for about an hour when receiving files from a Swedish client. After weeks of frustration, the company’s director Mr Bergman finally figured out the problem.
The client’s transferred files have the word “Falun” in them, referring to the Swedish town of that name. The town happens to have the same spelling as the persecuted practice “Falun Gong”. So the Swedish client unwittingly became a “victim” of the Communist Party’s Great Firewall.
Political commentator Xing Tianxing says:
“In China, the CCP regards Falun Gong as its greatest enemy. Therefore, the Great Firewall filters any words or terms that are close to Falun Gong in the most strict manner. This story again teaches foreigners how ridiculous China’s Internet censorship can be.”
Since realising the cause of the problem, Mr Bergman has asked the client to rename the files before sending them out. As expected, the files have transferred without any problems since then. Despite that, Mr Bergman decided to close his Chinese business and move the firm (Diakrit) to Thailand instead.
He says Thailand’s Internet is much faster and more reliable, and his company can connect to Facebook and Twitter there. This has greatly helped his business and ended his worries about Internet censorship.
Xing Tianxing says:
“This story reflects one aspect of China’s future in economic development. The primary goal of Internet censorship is to block information, especially from foreign websites the CCP doesn’t want Chinese to know. In other words, it tries to deceive Chinese people by blocking anything that reveals truths about China.
“However, at the same time, this is truly impeding the development of China’s economy. The block is like cutting us off from the outside world. It functions as an impediment to all the businesses in China. Therefore, we see companies moving to other countries.”
A research report by Harvard Law School and Cambridge University stated that China’s Internet censorship system is the most developed in the world. Its operation involves a considerable number of state agencies and tens of thousands of employees working for either the Communist regime or a company.
The websites blocked by China’s Great Firewall include most well-known overseas blog sites and video-sharing sites, such as Youtube. Popular social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and Myspace are also on the banned list.
The Chinese websites of many major international media are also blocked, including BBC, VOA, Deutsche Welle, RFI, ABC Radio Australia and others. Websites of newspapers, such as the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily, the Taiwan-based Liberty Times and the Epoch Times are also on the black list.
Li, a netizen from Shaanxi Province, says:
“The Great Firewall is pathetic, as it hinders the development of our high-tech and communications with the global community. It is also a barrier to introducing our culture to the world. Many hi-tech professionals use the convenience of Facebook or Twitter to communicate with each other. But these social networks are blocked in China. How can we connect with the world in such a case?”
As the CCP tightens its Internet blocking and censorship, more Chinese netizens are expressing a grudge against the system. Li says:
“Fang Binxing, the head of Beijing University Posts and Telecommunications, is dubbed the ‘Father of China’s Great Firewall’. Tens of thousands of netizens commented ‘Get out!’ following his Chinese New Year message.
“This shows how much against the ‘wall’ the Chinese people feel. What we think is that we want to overturn the wall, we want to breathe freely, we want to free our minds and we don’t want to be enslaved any more. That ‘Get out’ truly shows our longing for freedom as netizens and as Chinese.”
Li believes the CCP’s Internet censorship only exposes its dictatorship, guilt and inner weaknesses. She concludes that the CCP’s lies will finally be exposed and then it will have to pay for all its evil doings.