5 days behind The Great (Fire)Wall of China

So whilst on my current Asian travels I spent 5 days in Chongqing – a city in the Sichuan province of China – primarily I was there to help deliver a teacher training course but there were many incidental things I found to be of interest….majorly the seeming ‘parallel universe’ of China’s social media sphere, this is due solely to one thing….

China has a physical Great Wall but it also has a cyber Great Wall – an internet Firewall.

China due, in part, to it’s communist history has grown structurally used to censorship both culturally and politically – from the days of Mao to nowadays.

On my arrival to the hotel I was staying at, I was, like a lot of people would, looking forward to checking my emails and Facebook – but alas: no can do.Wifi down: no, computer working fine: yes, well then what? What I was experiencing was China’s modern cencorship.

The Chinese government has decided that certain Western internet staples are not allowed – for various reasons – some make sense but many do not – I can understand the wish to mediate access to pornography but Wikipedia, gmail….etc etc?? It boils down in essence to controlling what Chinese people think about their country – don’t worry – all good things….of course.

”But how do they manage with no social media” – I hear you cry – very well, because they have Chinese controlled equivalents – sometimes so similar to the Western version that estthe symbols or page set out is exactly the same.

Communism has become more and more technological in its propaganda and we, as westerners, see this to be a limitation –  an echo chamber of state controlled information but I would argue it is no different from the mediation of media in the rest of the world – look at Donald Trump’s calls of ‘Fake News!!’ whenever something happens that questions his authority or the manipulation of the information given to the electorate in the run up to Brexit….

The same censorship exists outside of China but we notice Chinese censorship and not our own because we, like the Chinese, are used to our own separate forms of mass censorship and mediation.


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