17 September 2008
The Great Firewall of China
The fact that internet access in China is filtered and censored to weed out material that the government deems unacceptable has been well documented. This censorship is often called "The Great Firewall of China" and I wanted to reference this in my Great Wall print. This means I have a lot of 0s and 1s to carve.
It's estimated that some 30,000 Chinese civil servants are employed to monitor Internet traffic and block content that is deemed undesirable. There are also freelance censors and volunteers who report violations to the authorities. All this scrutiny creates the perception that users are always being watched, which in turn sets up an environment where individuals and businesses willingly self-censor to avoid repercussions.
In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics it was reported that some of the government's web site blocking loosened up, but here is a sampling of words that have been known to trigger the filtering system:
- Falun Gong
- Human rights
- Dalai Lama
Ooops, I think I just triggered the system!