Why China is no good for surfing

Esteemed surfers of Neowin may have read one of my previous articles regarding the Internet restrictions China is currently implementing upon all new computers within its jurisdiction. The link to which can be found, here.

The original article covers some of the firewall and Internet surfing restrictions which owners of new computers will come across, thus hindering their ability to surf freely upon their computers. Developers of the software, on behalf of the Chinese government state that the software's main use will be to block access to pornography so that it may not inflict damage upon younger Internet users. However, outraged Chinese computer users state that this software is more so designed to restrict access to content deemed politically unacceptable by Chinese government authorities. Naturally, this is a topic which seems to have caused a fair outcry the world across so I thought that in this latest article I would provide an update to the situation.

News published upon The New York Times website today gives further information as to the Chinese effort to make a safer Internet. Currently, the giant search engine 'Google' is under the firing line by Chinese Internet authorities, blaming the site for linking 'too often to pornographic content'. As a result the Chinese government has disabled some search functions on the Chinese version of the search engine, namely the associative word feature which displays a drop down menu of words which are synonymous with the one typed in.

Reporters on China Central Television, the state television network provided examples of how the Chinese 'erzi' meaning 'son' resulted in some associated terms with 'lewd connotations'. Further to this, Chinese state news organizations reported that the, supposedly banned ability to access websites outside of China, was still available through Google's search engine.

The official watchdog for Internet activity in China, the: 'China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Center' have supposedly told off Google twice this year, in Janurary and April, regarding the content available through its search engine. In response to this, Google have issued a statement stating that it will make more effort to adhere to the Chinese government's requests:

"We have been continually working to deal with pornographic content, and material that is harmful to children, on the web in China"

This is clearly a topic to get some tongues wagging, and I would love to hear some opinion within the comments section below. Is it acceptable to completely restrict a country to only be able to search within the confines of an invisible blockade? What about Chinese students who may need to access material from other countries to further their education, moreover, will this inability to search outside of China hinder China's ability to continue to be a successful internationally trading country? Perhaps it will have little effect at all.

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34 Comments

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Hark is that the call of the medieval times i here where only the few lucky to be born into high class families were educated and the masses were left dim for easier subjugation information is power control the flow of information and you control the power way to go china

LiquidSolstice said,
I'm pretty sure they all use the popular tool UltraSurf to get by these things.

There are many articles written by assorted company IT departments and sites like Symantec, etc that show how easily it is to block UltraSurf users - nearly as many as articles that show how to use it.

see -
http://jonsnetwork.com/2009/01/blocking-ul...ation-firewall/
http://www.symantec.com/connect/articles/m...block-ultrasurf

But there are a couple decent alternatives. I recommend NotMyIP or Hotspot Shield. They aren't as "high profile" as UltraSurf

Have you been to Singapore? This ****hole is much worse than China in terms of free speech even though Singaporeans enjoys almost unfiltered Internet (we have porn sites like redtube and some political sites block).

We are even call police- or nanny-state by others. Our lifetime savings are being handled by the government. Our media only reports how good the government is and how bad other countries are. The government owns the supermarkets, undertaking, investment, gambling etc. firms.

The Americans so call 'freedom' shouldn't just include how how openness the country Internet access is.

Australia is fast tracking down this path too, won't be long till we'll have heavily [government] controlled internet access as well, for similar reasons.

Exactly, it isn't as if Western countries aren't headed down the same road. Even some in our own government have tried (and will continue to try) to enact restrictive internet laws. Thankfully, so far our courts have knocked down the laws that have been passed here so far, but how long will that last?

I saw the title of this article and expected it to be about real surfing :P
Don't tell me it has nothing to do with tech either, all sorts of stuff turns up on Neowin...

Economically for China I doubt it will make much of a difference for China, but this is certainly troubling. China has always been very involved in their citizens lives (As any good communist government tends to be... :P ), but this is stepping over the line I think. It appears to be more for political reasons than keeping their children from seeing pornography. I think the government is concerned that their citizens are going to see news / happenings not being reported within China and challenge the government personally...

"What about Chinese students who may need to access material from other countries to further their education", Indeed, for example, SupInfo-China students (supinfo.com) are having trouble accessing their school VPN because of this.

neowinid said,
"What about Chinese students who may need to access material from other countries to further their education", Indeed, for example, SupInfo-China students (supinfo.com) are having trouble accessing their school VPN because of this.

Hardly materials outside Chinese segment of internet are written in Chinese, so they won't understand them.

If not Chinese Firewall they wouldn't have 10% GDP growth. They would be simply destroyed by USA like they did to Soviet economy putting 300mln people into beggary, because of politics. Glassnost' pushed by USA during economic reforms was a fatal mistake. China simply protect their lifes. It's a lot better to have higher living level instead of freedom of speech.

coth said,
If not Chinese Firewall they wouldn't have 10% GDP growth. They would be simply destroyed by USA like they did to Soviet economy putting 300mln people into beggary, because of politics. Glassnost' pushed by USA during economic reforms was a fatal mistake. China simply protect their lifes. It's a lot better to have higher living level instead of freedom of speech.

Yep. I see people condemning China all the time for this, but they don't understand China and how Chinese people think. Free speech would not work there, at least not yet. There is too much unrest there right now with the way they are emerging. Also you have to remember that the majority of the people there are still very uneducated. Do I really need to say what happens when an uneducated mob gets an idea in their heads? Lets just say the results are never good. Look at China's own Cultural Revolution for an example.

As far as the practical side to this, it's not as big a deal as people make out. I rarely have any problems visiting any site I want when I go there. I mean, you get the occasional thing that sometimes seems pretty random (for a few months they had ign.com blocked there for some unknown reason), but I've never felt it was that big a deal and it's never had much of an impact on my browsing.

The following quotes say it better than I ever could:

Wikipedia on Freedom of Speech
According to Milton, it is up to each individual to uncover their own truth; no one is wise enough to act as a censor for all individuals.

Thomas I. Emerson expanded on this defence when he argued that freedom of speech helps to provide a balance between stability and change. Freedom of speech acts as a "safety valve" to let off steam when people might otherwise be bent on revolution. He argues that "The principle of open discussion is a method of achieving a moral adaptable and at the same time more stable community, of maintaining the precarious balance between healthy cleavage and necessary consensus." Emerson furthermore maintains that "Opposition serves a vital social function in offsetting or ameliorating (the) normal process of bureaucratic decay."


xorangekiller said,
The following quotes say it better than I ever could:


Still this is from our own cultural point of view that actually i share, but after living there for some years i came to realize it's not completely applicable to chinese culture.
We (western culture people) shouldn't always think that our point of view is the only right one.

freeeekyyy said,
Yeah, I have to disagree with you on that.

That's because you, as western person have absolutely no clue about what is beggary and that's because obviously you don't care of people's lifes outside you country or even your house...

Ji@nBing said,
Also you have to remember that the majority of the people there are still very uneducated. Do I really need to say what happens when an uneducated mob gets an idea in their heads? Lets just say the results are never good. Look at China's own Cultural Revolution for an example.

Why do you want to make black white?
I guess you should say the majority of Chinese are stupid, they need a great and ever right party to lead them.

coth said,
It's a lot better to have higher living level instead of freedom of speech.

Is your mean that the Chinese are just a host of animals, what they need is just to live?

coth said,
They would be simply destroyed by USA like they did to Soviet economy putting 300mln people into beggary, because of politics. Glassnost' pushed by USA during economic reforms was a fatal mistake.


You really have been deluded by the Communist propaganda, haven't you?

roadwarrior said,
You really have been deluded by the Communist propaganda, haven't you?

You find it quite funny to argue about people's life? I don't find it funny...

coth said,
You find it quite funny to argue about people's life? I don't find it funny...


What are you talking about? What you just said has nothing to do with what I said. Do you really believe that the downfall of the Soviet Union was caused by the US? And do you really believe that 300 million people there were forced to become beggers because of it?

roadwarrior said,
What are you talking about? What you just said has nothing to do with what I said. Do you really believe that the downfall of the Soviet Union was caused by the US? And do you really believe that 300 million people there were forced to become beggers because of it?

Yes it is. And it's not the only example of US international policy leading countries into deep economic beggary excused by spreading of democracy. USSR was the main example. And this is why many countries that are still far behind of western countries by living standard cutting off heads of any political opposition, especially supported by USA. It's absolutely clear for majority of the world. And it's one of main reason why USA (policy) is not popular around the World.

As of China. People should think everything goes ok and as planned. Large economy cannot be built in just 1 year, you need 30-40 years to do it. And China doing it very very well. Even under world crisis Chinese economy still overheated and will have nearly 9% of growth this year. But they still have over 500mln people untouched by reforms. With freedom of speech those people will rather believe nice words of opposition pushed by USA who will kill economy, then to local economic experts in the government who works at maximum to improve living standards. And already developed regions in China with high living standards have quite low level of censure.

But they still have over 500mln people untouched by reforms

LOL only because they live in the wops and dont have the internet and may be lucky to have electricity

coth said,
Yes it is. And it's not the only example of US international policy leading countries into deep economic beggary excused by spreading of democracy. USSR was the main example.


The USSR wasn't lead to "economic beggary" by US international policy. It was doomed due to the Communistic state and mass corruption within the government at the highest levels. They tried to force their economy to support a war machine it simply couldn't handle. They didn't invest in their economy or infrastructure and eventually it all came tumbling down.

Let's face it - any time you give people a ton of power and authority there is a fair chance that corruption will come into play. One of the biggest problems with Communism is lack of checks and balances. The U.S. is far from perfect but I absolutely know that free speech is better than having someone determine what I'm allowed to read and what I'm not.

In the end China is blocking internet access because they do not want any outside political opinions to get in. The government wants to keep the masses uneducated and uninformed under the guise of "protecting the children". It's the perfect cover.

Tim Dawg said,
The USSR wasn't lead to "economic beggary" by US international policy. It was doomed due to the Communistic state and mass corruption within the government at the highest levels. They tried to force their economy to support a war machine it simply couldn't handle. They didn't invest in their economy or infrastructure and eventually it all came tumbling down.

Let's face it - any time you give people a ton of power and authority there is a fair chance that corruption will come into play. One of the biggest problems with Communism is lack of checks and balances. The U.S. is far from perfect but I absolutely know that free speech is better than having someone determine what I'm allowed to read and what I'm not.

In the end China is blocking internet access because they do not want any outside political opinions to get in. The government wants to keep the masses uneducated and uninformed under the guise of "protecting the children". It's the perfect cover.


There was 40 years between "war machine" and 1990's - 50's - 80's the time when USSR was lead mainly by social-democrats and capitalists like Kosygin and Andropov. Economy is tumbled because of glastnost' allowed pro american opposition to come into power. They did all what USA said them via IMF and all that leaded to gigantic inflation and ruined economy.

Let's also face it - With 10% annual economy growth for over 15 years corruption is not the problem of China.

Nobody needs outside political opinions in developing economy. Especially children and teens. Political opinions have nothing to do with education.

From what I read the filtering software has to be supplied with every PC but no-one is stopping you from uniinstalling it, at least they say there isn't.