Feb 25 2008
The Atlantic has a great article on the Great Firewall of China (GFW). It is full of technical details about the central component of Internet censorship in China. The article discusses some of the censorship countermeasures such as proxy servers and VPN and suggests that the PRC government only has to make it difficult, not impossible. The majority of users can’t be bothered to use a proxy so they stick with the sanitized official news sources.
One thing that I have found in my own research is that internal/domestic censorship is handled primarily by content providers themselves, not by the government. There isn’t any official guidance on what should be censored on portals and boards (“bars”) so it is left up to the provider, who may be overly cautious in order to avoid trouble. I have read that there are periodic meetings between propaganda representatives and the official content providers in order to inform them of what issues should be avoided and which stories should be prominently displayed. This leaves those within the PRC who are not willing to use proxies with an unbalanced view of current events.
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