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China & Online Censorship-The 101

By Rizwan Ahmad - 07 January 2013 No Comments
If you don’t pay much attention to the Internet events in China, then you may not know that China has banned the use of many websites, blogs and social networks to their citizens. The following is some basic 101 information on the online censorship in China.

When did the censorship start?
Although they did not have the Internet yet, China’s online censorship can be traced back to the 1980s when the economic reform was starting to occur. During this time, China was starting to be successful with their own market, and they were starting to open the door and create new partnerships with companies from outside the country. Although they were starting to boom economically, the government wanted to protect the country’s citizens and companies from being invaded by outsiders.

To support the socialist market economy, the Internet became available in China in 1994. Around this time, the Communist Party of China feared the Internet would give strength to the Democracy Party of China, and so banning and shield projects were created.

China & Online Censorship

What are the regulations?
At first, there were three main regulations to Internet censorship in China. This regulation stated that all ISPs be licensed and that all traffic had to go through one of four platforms. The second regulation gave Internet security responsibilities to the Ministry of Public Security. The third gave specifics on what Internet users could share and not share while using the Internet.

Who blocks the sites?
There are different laws and regulations that have been put online censorship into place in China. Throughout the years, over 60 laws have been written to determine what can and cannot be seen or done online by those visiting or residing in China. These rules and regulations are made by the government of the People’s Republic of China, and each one is upheld by the government, certain ISP branches and third-party organizations. Today, though, most of this responsibility is upheld  by the State Internet Information Office.

What do they block?
Right now, more than 18,000 websites are currently blocked in China. Some of these websites contain pornography, gambling, or violence, and some of them even contain political information. Foreign news sites are also blocked, and most popular search engines are also blocked, forcing Internet users to use China-only search engines. Social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter are also blocked. Along with blocking access to certain websites, the government also intensely maintains the activity that individuals perform while using the Internet. They monitor the searches that are performed and then use this information to determine if they need to block more sites.
How do they block websites?
There are different ways that China can block websites, but the most popular methods are by using IP blocking, URL filtering, DNS filtering/redirection, connection resets and packet filtering.

What happens if you don’t stick the regulations?
People in China have found ways around sticking to the online censorship by using programs that change their ISPs. But if a person is caught accessing a banned site or using the Internet in an inappropriate way, they can be punished by fines or imprisonment.

Mara Lam hosts a group of online Chinese tutoring. She lives in Taiwan and is a graduate of a local university.

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Rizwan Ahmad
About the Author:
This article is contributed by Mara Lam and posted by Rizwan Ahmad Author and founder of, He is a tech blogger from India and he loves to share his thoughts by writing articles on this site to the different topics related to technology world,

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