Censorship in China has various effects on the citizens in China. These effects are both positive and negative but do not outweigh the benefits of freedom of speech. China’s internet regulators have made aggressive precautions to reduce the country’s more than 750 million internet users are able to do online.(Ming, ‘China has launched another crackdown on the internet’) Beijing the capital of China has shut out access to Google and Facebook in the past.
New guidelines introduced in the year of 2017 have been said to be some of the strictest ever in history, according to experts.(Vanderklippe, ‘The long-term effects will be devastating: China prepares to harden Great Firewall censorship’) The effects of censorship in China include increased difficulty when receiving current events and basic information as well as slowing down the internet. For example Christina Larson says, “The short video clip of James Bond and the Queen of England “parachuting” into the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics took me an hour to download”(Kristof, ‘What is the effect of internet censorship in China’), due to the many restrictions the government has on the internet.
Although censorship has many negatives, censorship does offer positives to the citizens of China. There is a need to filter may materials that are released in today’s society. The internet is filled with pornography, racism, sexism, pro-anorexia websites and advertisements, how to commit suicide websites and advertisements, and much more material that shouldn’t be accessible to the public. The internet or social media is also an area that breeds violence or crimes ranging from bullying to illegal actions.
Although there are many downsides to censorship the positives must be considered. Do they really outweigh the negatives? In the United States the first amendment protects citizens from censorship due to freedom of speech. The government does not have any right to make the decision for a person what is acceptable to see and hear, even for kids.
Why do you think the government should regulate what anyone sees, including kids? Adults can make their own decisions when it comes to using the internet and guardians of minors can regulate what these minors do, which is a guardians role. Isn’t it the parents responsibility to make sure their children stay away from these bad things not the government? Most of the time people use censorship to dismantle the truth or hide the facts. With freedom of speech people know and experience as much as possible which allows them to form their own opinions or ideas, while censorship makes this impossible. Censorship does not allow people to express personal opinions unless its in alliance with the government. The consequences for going against the government could get you put in prison, just because you expressed your opinion to the world.
Censorship will also shelter people from reality, only allowing them to hear what the government decides is acceptable. Websites in China or on China’s server cannot link to overseas news websites which makes distributing news from overseas media not an option unless separate approval is given, which comes from the Chinese government. Only “licensed print publishers” have the authority to deliver news online which are those that fall at the hand of the government. Freedom of speech also provides security when it comes to practicing religion. In China the five official religions are Buddhism, Daoism, Islam, Catholicism, and Protestantism. If your religion you are subject to imprisonment or even lose your life. The government controls what the people believe is right through censorship which only allows the citizens to see one side of the story. 87% percent of Americans are religious, while a meer 47.
8% of the chinese population consider themselves religious. (Wee, ‘Religious Demographics of China’) This could be due to fear to express one’s belief due to a censored and controlled country. Without freedom of speech one is subject to what is given to them, which is what the government feels like giving in China’s case. Due to censorship major browsers such as google are not accessible in China. Google is the leading search engine in the world which allows its users to access a variety of information about almost anything you can think of.
By cutting off this search engine you leave the chinese citizens not only clueless but also ill informed when it comes to basic knowledge unless it is taught to you in a learning institution or is accessible from the search engines ‘Baidu’ or ‘Soso’. Is it fair that the Chinese do not have equally access to resources which could be beneficial when it comes to the future? Whether it be academically, in the job force, or just at life on this world in general.