26. October 2011
Sina Weibo. (Photo: bloggerinsight.com)
A leading communist part in Beijing China is apparently pushing for a full out ruling that can result in a total ban on social media and its websites for long periods of time. According to the party’s spokesperson, the are taking this initiative in order to keep a check on the savvy internet users, who are becoming more and more proficient in spreading their opposition against the government via social media outlets like blogs and instant messaging. This news will not take anyone by surprise as the Chinese government is probably the most anti-internet government the world has seen, as evident by its censorship of popular internet sites like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, including a partial censorship on Google, where any topics regarding Dalai Lama, communism, abortion, religion etc are heavily scrutinized and blocked.
Basically, if this initiative comes into fruition, the government will have a lot of control over what people blog about, thus allowing them to filter out anything they may view as derogatory. While this seems like an other abject attempt by the government to increase its stronghold over its citizens and suppress freedom of speech, from the party’s point of view, the fears are more or less legitimate.
For example, a website that is the Chinese version of Twitter and Facebook known as Sina or weibo,com, is being used by millions of Chinese internet users for the purpose of voicing their opposition against the government as it was evident by the infamous Wenzhou train incident of July or the one where a girl was left to die after a roadside accident, where millions of people had raised a hue and cry against the system. The point being, these microblogging and social media sites are giving the common folk enough power to have substantial leverage over their government, which is one of the main reasons why Facebook or Youtube was banned in the first place. As for now, Sina and other Twitter like micro blogging sites are already installing filters, so that they can get rid of any ‘offensive’ content.
Paradoxically, China has the largest number of internet users in the world, with an amount that has already crossed 450 million this year or in other words, that is more than the entire population of the US!. However, thanks to such censorship laws and unfair scrutiny, many investors often shy away from investing in their internet companies, which is why their internet industry is not as big as the US.