Cyber Censorship Threatens Chinese Businesses

Published on Author taa16

Under the guise of improving security, the Chinese government is clamping down on technology companies and further limiting the access its citizens have to information that is not “sanitized” by the Communist Party. These moves will hurt China’s economy as they create a major rift between itself and the rest of the world.

The government has, for example, enacted new policies that require companies that sell computer equipment to Chinese banks to turn over their source code to the government and let security officials monitor and control those devices. The Party also has proposed a law that would require technology companies to provide it with the means to monitor all communications over their systems in China. In recent weeks, Internet users can no longer employ VPN (virtual private networks) to evade the government filters and restrictions (a.k.a. the Great Firewall). This poses real challenges to researchers, businesses and professionals who have long used VPN to communicate with customers and suppliers abroad, obtain scientific data and research information beyond China’s borders.

It is hard to estimate how many entrepreneurs in China need to access information and websites blocked by the Great Firewall. According to Chuangtouquan, a social network that connects Chinese entrepreneurs to venture capitalists, China has about 10,000 start-ups today, covering all kinds of industries from mobile Internet to video games. Even if only a small portion of companies suffer from censorship-related inefficiency, over the years the overall effect would add up.

As long as Chinese leaders of President Xi Jinping still consider the free flow of information on the Internet as a threat to the Party, cyber censorship will still set up a major barrier in trade between China and other nations.


China’s Self-Destructive Tech Crackdown.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Jan. 2015. Web.

Bao, Beibei. “How Internet Censorship Is Curbing Innovation in China.” The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, 22 Apr. 2013. Web.

2 Responses to Cyber Censorship Threatens Chinese Businesses

  1. Note the tank image is based on the photo of a student in Tiananmen in 1989 holding a flower as an offering to a tank. (I have never seen anything about who the student was or what happened to him.)

    We’ll see whether the Great Firewall is as leaky as a defense mechanism as the Great Wall was for the Ming Dynasty. Can hackers get around it without much problem? In addition, will it really be costly to researchers, or will they be able to readily get permission to access sites outside China? Will the government set up a portal for accessing scientific journals? Can researchers access university web sites outside of China? Yes, the government may be able to monitor what they read, but will that stop the information flows? I’m a bit skeptical that censorship is that costly.

  2. I am not sure about professional researchers and whether they have permission to access outside sources or not (they probably do). From the standpoint of someone who was in China for 3 months and had to use VPN to access information from blocked pages, I think increased censorship would definitely hinder the flow of information.
    On a daily basis, Chinese people access information through government-controlled websites and they don’t seem to bother to look for information from other sources. For example, they use Baidu instead of Google. If the government controls those websites, they control the information flow.