Many open the country to foreign trade

Many people consider media censorship as an obvious attempt
to oppress the freedom of speech. 
Possibly an equivalent to threatening the very definition of freedom
itself.  Today’s western culture is so
obsessed with free speech, to the point where the difference between freedom
and order has become uncertain.  Media
censorship may not be applicable for all types of government but enforcing
strengthened media laws might be necessary for a country new to
technology.  China—a nation infamous for
their state sponsored censorship—has been held as an exemplar model of “how
authoritarian regime might successfully manage” (Kalathil) the influence of the
film industry, social networks and the news. 

 

Before exploring the impact of media censorship it is
essential to understand the development China’s Great Firewall.  The Great Firewall of China, previously known
as the Golden Shield Project, acts as China’s “internet censorship and
surveillance project” (Ping).  The
Internet was introduced to China in 1994, and president Jiang Zemin began to
carefully observe its influence.  After
learning about Alvin Toffler’s “third wave theory”, which states that “the
world is moving away from the Industrial Age to the Information Age”, president
Jiang Zemin deduced that for China to compete with the world they must “bring
in Western knowledge and open the country to foreign trade and investment”
(Ping).  Thus, under president’s request the
government enforced the Open Door policy. 
Immediately afterwards China faced an ironic dilemma.  Their “struggle to strike a balance between
“opening up” to the Western world and keeping its people away from Western
ideology” (Ping) began to pose a substantial problem.  To keep their own order and ideologies, the
Ministry of Public Security responded with the Golden Shield Project.  The exponential speed in which the interest
has grown in China, however, forced the MPS to alter their project.  Now, renamed the Great Firewall of China,
they shifted their aim from “generalized content control at the gateway level
to individual surveillance of users at the edge of the network” (Walton). 

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The Chinese Communist government desires to “reflect China’s
official values and serve its interests” (Groot).  In the most basic sense, China wants to seek
vengeance for past humiliations, receive recognition for its rich culture and
ultimately end the “global dominance of the English language and Western
values” (Groot).  The Chinese national
government has been credited for their exponential economic growth but it
appears that impressions from other countries regarding the Chinese people has
declined tremendously.  Subjects such as
human rights violations, pollution and other socio-political issues seem to be
a key factors.  For example, only
thirty-eight percent of Americans and nine percent of Japanese view China
kindly (Groot).

 

Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government has supported
local film industries to compete with Hollywood.  But the Chinese appear to be lacking in the
box office business, despite “policies allow only thirty-four foreign films to
screen in China per year” (Groot).  Wang
Jianlin, owner of a shopping center chain, invested billions of dollars on AMC,
a theatre chain.  Through his ambitious
endeavors he was able to acquire Odeon, UCI Cinemas Group and Carmike.  According to the billionaire himself, his
aims is to “change the world where the rules are set by foreigners.”  China’s “expensive attempt at image
management” (Groot) may possibly be the reason behind such negative
feedback. 

 

Those who say that media censorship is an obstruction to
one’s individual rights aren’t even aware of how the Great Firewall affects an
average Chinese netizen.  Liu Kang claims
that “tales of China’s political repression and terror have more to do with the
political, ideological and commercial objects of the Western media than with
what really happens in China.”  The
amount of internet in China is approximately 253 million users, 40 million more
than the United States (Enge).  When
seventy percent of those users deem it “necessary” for internet control, this
isn’t an indication of brainwash but instead demonstrates the fact that the
term “control” has a different definition in China. 

 

An average Chinese netizen limits the utilization of the
internet according to a phenomenon known as the “Human Flesh Search Engine.”  According to Tom Downey, this term is “a form
of online vigilante justice in which Internet users hunt down and punish people
who have attracted their wrath.”  One
prominent example is the viral and notorious “Kitten Killer”- a video of a
woman beating an innocent kitten to death. 
Unlike most internet users whom receive information based on large
corporations such as BBC and Fox News, a Chinese netizen obtains the latest
trends from anonymous online forums. 
When the “Kitten Killer” gained millions of views, it was inevitable
that the identity, job and address was later discovered.  With a wave of cyber attacks, the woman had
ultimately lost her job.  Activities from
the Human Flesh Search Engines aren’t monitored by the national government due
to the fact that China had decided to achieve a less totalitarian image. 

 

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