Chinese authorities have blocked Internet access for search engines (SE): Google, Yahoo! and Live Search (MSN). The only way out for Chinese now is to hide IP address in order to avoid the pursuit of the government.
Asians are known by their strangeness traditions as of European point of view. Today, on the 19th of October 2007, it was cleared up, that unusual Asian views for outward things are also spreading on the methods of Internet sites promotion and Network censorship. Chinese Internet providers have changed routes of the Network connections, therefore none of Chinese Internet users will be able to enter any international Internet Search engines – with any address typed – redirecting will be done to Baidu, the National Internet Search. So, with programs that allow to hide IP address they can bypass these rules. In this wise, we can say that now all of them have the chance to live a full life.
Frankly speaking it is not a surprise that Chinese government censors Internet sector – the country has very strong regulations regarding the freedom of speech. In any case, these rules are much stronger than in any other country. Internet search engine is a place where Chinese were able to read all the hidden facts regarding the first persons of the country.
Probably, this is the main reason for the blocked access for Chinese to many of the most popular portals. For the common Internet users who used to scandals, fights and expressed opinions of different social minorities, these Internet portals have nothing scandalous. Quite the contrary, most of all people are looking for the private life facts of well-known people or evidences of breaking human rights in the separate countries – this information is similar to the tabloid readings, it relaxes and agitates imagination, but does not bring any valued information.
The history has counted a lot of facts of blocking websites by Chinese authorities. The first “famous” event was restricted access to Wikipedia in 2004. Since then, locking and unlocking Wikipedia became a regular entertainment for Chinese authorities. China locks and unlocks encyclopedia access regularly. The first reason of blocking it, observers has considered that the pages of ‘free encyclopedia’ have information about the 4th July events in 1989, when the government forces dispersed the student’s demonstration on Tyananymen square (approx 400 – 2600 Chinese died as a result of this act).
Afterwards, the World organization “Reporters without borders” included China in the ‘Enemy of Internet’ list for the confining of freedom of speech (that rating included China at the first place and Belarus as well). Official China made a protest to the organization and declared that ‘Chinese have easy Internet access and can find all the information they require. Nowadays, the residents of China are able to receive much more information than before Global network came to China. Same as in other countries, we control Global network in accordance with our internal laws.’ Apparently, in accordance with these laws China blocked access to Google’s pages in summer 2006. Only after consent of the Google’s management to organize a censorship of the search results in their SE – popular portal became available to Chinese users. Microsoft and Yahoo did the same that year!
Regulation of virtual space in China does not limit to search engines only. The development of blogging communities are also controlled by China’s authorities. Thus, in 2007 two companies Yahoo and Microsoft signed the agreement. In accordance with this agreement they assumed obligations to control the blogs of Chinese users. Among the other limitations, the bloggers were informed that they couldn’t use pseudonyms, only real name and other personal information could be used. Yahoo was also accused of helping China’s authorities and breach of human rights. According to accusers, Yahoo exposed materials from the private mail box of the political prisoner Van Syaonin to the China’s authorities.
In 2007 popular portals LiveJournal and Flickr had been blocked. Reasons are unknown. On the 11 september 2007 China authorities blocked access to Yandex in the capital of China and a number of provinces. As always, China authorities did not comment its actions, thus it is still unknown why popular SE was blocked.
In general, it is not a surprise for everyone anymore when China government blocks some web resource. Thanks to software like SmartHide that can hide IP address it’s possible for Chinese to surf the Internet and be in the know of everything what’s going on in the World. There’s a more interesting fact – China redirects network queries from Google, Yahoo! and LiveSearch to national search engine baidu.cn, thus incredibly increasing its traffic. We should point out that according to evaluations by independent specialists Baidu is much lower than Google and Yahoo! mainly due to heavy control over its database by Chinese authorities. Each and every “undesirable” link is filtered out right away. Thus, China Internet users are left without many “goodies” Internet provides. Communication media suffer as well, very hard to talk about freedom of speech under these circumstances. And once again it?s important to figure out that Chinese do not stop their attempts by solving this problem by using anonymizers and hide ip address softwares that they’re searching all over Internet space all the time.
It is possible that for the good of Chinese the politics of China government, that declared war to Internet dependence, is useful. From this point of view, users theoretically exposed to virtual “drug” will only win – their mental health will be unharmed.
Chinese should know better!