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Chinese Officials on Social Media

It could be clearly remembered that a few years ago, a senior government official in China has refuted the suggestion that overseas social networks such as Facebook would be nice to be shut out of the country, and has said that any foreign player is “welcome” although the government has the right to “choose our friends”. Lu Wei, director of the State Internet Information Office said at a press conference 3 years ago that China has never shut down any foreign sites and its management of these sites aims to protect the country’s “national security and consumers’ interests”, according to pro-Beijing newspaper Global Times. His comments came in response to a question from a reporter who asked why Facebook is blocked in China. And as it was known, Facebook, a US-based company, is one of the main key players in this perspective. China wants everything to be secure and controllable.

Lu reportedly said that “anyone’ is welcome to China but they do have the right to choose their friends. He also added that anyone who comes to China would be their real friend. The official denied reports in the media that suggested that “Facebook can never be admitted to China,” but added the caveat that “this does not mean that Facebook can enter into China.” Foreign web firms should not harm “China’s national interest or the consumers’ interests”, Lu said, adding that China will never allow any company to “occupy” China’s market and earn money while “doing things that hurt the country.” He also denied suggestions that China has increased its efforts to delete posts online. China will manage the internet according to the rule of law, he said. It was truly a Great Firewall of China, being run by the Chinese government, the censorship and surveillance are never an easy project. And behind this wall sits the likes of Facebook. Technically, the ban on Facebook was lifted in September 2013 but only within a 17-square-mile free-trade zone in Shanghai.  Also, it makes the foreign investors be at ease.

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Years had passed and somehow foreigners who eventually lived in China found a way to slip right thru The Great Firewall by using Virtual Private Networks or VPN thus, foreign websites like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – primarily operated by the US companies – could be accessed. Now, China ordered their leading telecommunications companies to perform a crackdown using such tools. This bold move is not just to secure blockage of foreign websites but also seal Chinese online users from messaging overseas. Obviously, it would also restrict the work of multinational companies who operate in China. This huge issue on foreign websites usage could be affected by the Rape of Nanking or what not. China announced that they will launch a “cleaning up” operation against those unauthorized VPNs. It was also said that after President Xi’s first term in the office, he will further strengthen his powers which could lead to a general tightening of China’s freedom.

China made it clear that they want everything that could be used on the internet to be secure and controllable. Foreign companies, that includes companies that are based in the US, said that their businesses would “do well” and would reach more if they could just establish their websites China – if only they could register them. Indeed, businesses inside China, as well as the one overseas, will be affected with this continuous bolster of The Great Firewall. Currently, there are companies that are being paid to praise the government and Beijing runs a huge censorship program which successfully deletes specific contents that criticize the Communist Party, its policies, and black propagandas.

 

About Kristen East

Kristen East

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