Great Firewall

Chinese internet regulations / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Great Firewall (GFW; simplified Chinese: 防火长城; traditional Chinese: 防火長城; pinyin: Fánghuǒ Chángchéng) is the combination of legislative actions and technologies enforced by the People's Republic of China to regulate the Internet domestically.[1] Its role in internet censorship in China is to block access to selected foreign websites and to slow down cross-border internet traffic.[2] The Great Firewall operates by checking transmission control protocol (TCP) packets for keywords or sensitive words. If the keywords or sensitive words appear in the TCP packets, access will be closed. If one link is closed, more links from the same machine will be blocked by the Great Firewall.[3] The effect includes: limiting access to foreign information sources, blocking foreign internet tools (e.g. Google Search,[4] Facebook,[5] Twitter,[6] Wikipedia,[7][8] and others) and mobile apps, and requiring foreign companies to adapt to domestic regulations.[9][10]

Besides censorship, the Great Firewall has also influenced the development of China's internal internet economy by giving preference to domestic companies[11] and reducing the effectiveness of products from foreign internet companies.[12] The techniques deployed by the Chinese government to maintain control of the Great Firewall can include modifying search results for terms, such as they did following Ai Weiwei’s arrest, and petitioning global conglomerates to remove content, as happened when they petitioned Apple to remove the Quartz business news publication’s app from its Chinese App Store after reporting on the 2019–2020 Hong Kong protests.[13][14]

The Great Firewall was formerly operated by the SIIO, as part of the Golden Shield Project. Since 2013, the firewall is technically operated by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), which is the entity in charge of translating the Chinese Communist Party's doctrine and policy into technical specifications.[15]

As mentioned in the "one country, two systems" principle, China's special administrative regions (SARs) such as Hong Kong and Macau are not affected by the firewall, as SARs have their own governmental and legal systems and therefore enjoy a higher degree of autonomy. Nevertheless, the U.S. State Department has reported that the central government authorities have closely monitored Internet use in these regions,[16] and Hong Kong's National Security Law has been used to block websites documenting anti-government protests.[17]

The term Great Firewall of China is a combination of the word firewall with the Great Wall of China. The phrase "Great Firewall of China" was first used in print by Australian sinologist Geremie Barmé in 1997.[18][19]