Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Future of Internet Censorship

Information Industry is becoming increasingly important in modern society. Online communication provides an effective way for information exchange, which has been absolutely critical to potential commercial development in China. Moreover, with growing democratic awareness, more and more middle-class citizens tend to request the guarantee freedom of expression. Therefore, ongoing economic development, industrialization, urbanization would lead to great changes in Internet censorship in China. The State would relax restriction and control on the Internet to ensure the stable regime and further development in China.

On the other hand, under the pressure of globalisation, Chinese government may reduce the limitation of Internet to attract more overseas investments. It is believed that the emerging need for foreign capital outweigh the strict adherence to existing censorship policies. Current censorship system may cause the misunderstanding that Beijing is taking measures to hinder the development of Internet; foreign companies may take more conservative attitude towards the entry of Chinese market. In other words, the control of online communication is a contradictory action of national interest in economic development. Therefore, the State has to open up a broader path for global Internet companies.

In addition, political impacts would facilitate the change of Internet censorship. A large number of non-governmental human rights organizations argued that the abuse of human rights partly attributed to the censorship regulations. This opinion would bring a negative impact on Chinese international image. Furthermore, western countries such as America stated that the improvement of online environment in China had become a transnational issue that may influence the relationship and cooperation between China and the outside world in the future.

Since the open-door policy was released in 1978, China has shown great attempts at establishing the democratic government. Existing centralised bureaucratic censorship system, as a remarkable product of monopoly, may reduce the effect of those positive administrative efforts.
To sum up, in order to take the advantage of economic globalisation and release the pressure from domestic public opinion and international community, Chinese government should take responsibility to promote the evolution of Internet censorship system. Otherwise, it would be extremely difficult for the Communist Party of China to manage and overcome the following challenges from different aspects effectively.

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