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Essay on Internet Censorship and China

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The Politics of Censorship – Bryan Thetford
Such an enormous investment is, out of necessity, coupled with legislation and bureaucracy. In 2010 the People's Republic of China released a white-paper via their Information Office detailing its policies for implementing and regulating the Internet (Xu). Delegating control to over a dozen government organizations and detailing 18 specific laws or decisions regarding China's Internet, the document is nothing if not thorough (Dance to The Revolution). Despite this, it is largely seen as a propaganda piece, prompting one American writer, Rebecca MacKinnon, to compare the reading of the white-paper to perusing an article in The Onion. The comparison of a legislative document to a publication known for witty and scathing parody arises from the stark contrast between the spirit of the Chinese laws regarding Internet Censorship and their practical, day to day implementation (MacKinnon). For example, the 2010 white-paper states:
“Chinese citizens fully enjoy freedom of speech on the Internet. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China confers on Chinese citizens the right to free speech. With their right to freedom of speech on the Internet protected by the law, they can voice their opinions in various ways on the Internet.”(Information Office, PRC)
However, less than a year after the white-paper was released, over 200 people were held in “soft-detention” and 26 arrested in connection with an online call by activists for a “jasmine revolution” similar to uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East (Richburg). Among those arrested was Ai WeiWei, a prominent Chines artist. Ai WeiWei, an active Twitter user adept at bypassing China's blocking of the popular social networking site via...


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...oyama, Kentaro. "How Internet Censorship Actually Works in China." The Atlantic. Atlantic
Desai, Rajiv. "Dr Rajiv Desai Blog." Dr Rajiv Desai Blog. N.p., Qw Jan. 2012. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. .
Mack, Lauren. "Internet Censorship in China." Internet Censorship in China. About.com, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. .
Wiseman, Paul. "Cracking the 'Great Firewall' of China's Web Censorship." ABC News. USA Today, n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2014. .
Rininsland, Edrew. "Internet Censorship Listed: How Does Each Country Compare?"Theguardian.com. Guardian News and Media, 16 Apr. 2012. Web. 02 Mar. 2014. .


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