Table of Contents

Comment Icon0 As of June 2009, there were 338 million Internet users in China, a population much larger than the entire population of the United States (standing at 307 million as recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau). With the launch of their 3G cellular-data service, China seems to be leapfrogging the United States in terms of mobile Internet access, where fixed network lines and personal computers are the typical means of Internet access. In China, Internet use on mobile phones has increased 32.1% since the beginning of the year to reach 155 million, spurred by rising Internet use by rural dwellers who would typically be last in line for high-speed Internet access via fixed lines (CNNIC, July 2009).

Comment Icon0 With this number of the Chinese population now online, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has made several attempts to gain political control over the medium. The first few attempts to regulate the Internet focused on the development of a nationwide intranet. Unlike the Internet, the intranet is a computer network that is distinctly isolated from the Internet. This meant that control of the web was based on inclusion rather than exclusion, which is to control what users see, rather than not see. This was perhaps the most extreme form of Internet control, since only desirable websites were accessible. The national intranet never caught on with the Chinese public and was soon scraped. The CCP turned towards a policy of control based on exclusion, such as the use of blacklists for undesirable sites, something that we find familiar in China’s Internet today (Tsui, 2004).

Chapter 2.3 – Internet Censorship: Citizens vs Government


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