Internet censorship in China

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

China censors both the publishing and viewing of online material. Many controversial events are censored from news coverage, preventing many Chinese citizens from knowing about the actions of their government, and severely restricting freedom of the press.[1] China's censorship includes the complete blockage of various websites, apps, video games, inspiring the policy's nickname, the "Great Firewall of China",[2] which blocks websites. Methods used to block websites and pages include DNS spoofing, blocking access to IP addresses, analyzing and filtering URLs, packet inspection, and resetting connections.[3]

China's Internet censorship is more comprehensive and sophisticated than any other country in the world.[4] The government blocks website content and monitors Internet access.[5] As required by the government, major Internet platforms in China have established elaborate self-censorship mechanisms as well as implementing a real-name system. 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.[6][7][anachronism][8] Some companies hire teams and invest in powerful artificial intelligence algorithms to police and remove illegal online content.[9]

Amnesty International states that China has "the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world"[10] and Reporters Without Borders stated in 2010 and 2012 that "China is the world's biggest prison for netizens."[11][12]

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. Many of these protests were organized or publicized using instant messaging services, chat rooms, and text messages.[13] China's Internet police force was reported by official state media to be 2 million strong in 2013.[14]

In 2022, in the name of combating disinformation, several Chinese social platforms announced that they would display user locations based on internet protocol (IP) addresses. These platforms include Quora-like Zhihu, the domestic version of TikTok, Douyin, and video streaming platform Bilibili.[15] The platforms display the province for users located in China or the country or region if the IP address of the user is located overseas. Users cannot disable this feature.[16][17]

China's special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau are outside the Great Firewall.[18] However, it was reported that the central government authorities have been closely monitoring Internet use in these regions (see Internet censorship in Hong Kong).[19]

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