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Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China (PRC) affects both publishing and viewing online material. Illegal content may be censored with the likes of pornographic content, content that promotes crime or violence and certain topics deemed to be controversial. Due to this censorship freedom of the press in the country has been reduced as well as foreign government interference to domestic policy[1] or governance [2] and misinformation on social media.[3] These measures also inspired the policy's nickname, the "Great Firewall of China".[4]

China's Internet censorship is more comprehensive and sophisticated than any other country in the world.[5] The government blocks website content and monitors Internet access.[6] As required by the government, major internet platforms in China established elaborate self-censorship mechanisms. As of 2019 more than sixty online restrictions had been created by the Government of China and implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs, companies and organizations.[7][8][anachronism] Some companies hire teams and invested in powerful artificial intelligence algorithms to police and remove illegal online content.[9]

Methods used to block websites and pages include DNS spoofing, blocking access to IP addresses, analyzing and filtering URLs, packet inspection, and resetting connections.[10]

Amnesty International notes that China has "the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world"[11] and Reporters Without Borders stated in 2010 and 2012 that "China is the world's biggest prison for netizens." though it should also be noted that these figures would be inflated due to China being the country with the world's largest population of 1.42 billion,[12][13] and about 904 million people have access to internet in China, resulting in a fast-growing mobile app market in the country.[14] Commonly alleged user offenses include communicating with organized groups abroad, signing controversial online petitions, and forcibly calling for government reform. The government has escalated its efforts to reduce coverage and commentary that is critical of the regime after a series of large anti-pollution and anti-corruption protests, and in region of Xinjiang and Tibet which are subjected to terrorism. Many of these protests as well as ethnic riots were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages.[15] China's internet police force was reported by official state media to be 2 million strong in 2013.[16]

China's special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau are outside the Great Firewall.[17] However, it was reported that the central government authorities have been closely monitoring Internet use in these regions (see Internet censorship in Hong Kong).[18]

  1. ^ ONG, RUSSELL (1 November 2007). "'Peaceful Evolution', 'Regime Change' and China's Political Security". Journal of Contemporary China. 16 (53): 717–727. doi:10.1080/10670560701562408. ISSN 1067-0564.
  2. ^ "US adopts policy of regime-change in Beijing". World Socialist Web Site. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  3. ^ Liebman, Jason (8 January 2010). "Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Are Tools For Diplomacy". HuffPost. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  4. ^ Guo, Steve; Feng, Guangchao (1 March 2012). "Understanding Support for Internet Censorship in China: An Elaboration of the Theory of Reasoned Action". Journal of Chinese Political Science. 17 (1): 33–52. doi:10.1007/s11366-011-9177-8. ISSN 1874-6357. S2CID 143709885.
  5. ^ "Internet censorship in China - CNN iReport". Ireport.cnn.com. 6 July 2015. Archived from the original on 15 August 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 August 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "II. How Censorship Works in China: A Brief Overview". Human Rights Watch. Archived from the original on 22 April 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2006.
  8. ^ "Chinese Laws and Regulations Regarding Internet". Chinaeclaw.com. Archived from the original on 20 February 2012. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  9. ^ Yuan, Li (2 January 2019). "Learning China's Forbidden History, So They Can Censor It". Archived from the original on 29 February 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2019 – via NYTimes.com.
  10. ^ Hoffman, Chris. "How the "Great Firewall of China" Works to Censor China's Internet". howtogeek.com. How to geek. Archived from the original on 15 August 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Background: Firewall of Shame" Archived 17 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine Archived 17 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine, Global Internet Freedom Consortium, 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  12. ^ "Inside China" Archived 26 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine Archived 26 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Miles Yu, Washington Times, 8 February 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  13. ^ "2012 Internet Enemies: China" Archived 19 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 August 2014. Retrieved 25 January 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link), Reporters Without Borders, 12 March 2012. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  14. ^ "China: number of internet users 2020". Statista. Retrieved 22 December 2020.
  15. ^ "China's Internet Users Go Mobile". 21 July 2012. Archived from the original on 7 May 2019. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
  16. ^ "China employs two million microblog monitors state media say". BBC News. 4 October 2013. Archived from the original on 9 October 2013. Retrieved 15 October 2013.
  17. ^ "Can Netflix expand into China's censored media market?". Newsweek. 27 August 2016. Archived from the original on 8 May 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2020.
  18. ^ "China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) - Hong Kong". U.S. Department of State. Archived from the original on 1 July 2019. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
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