Blatant censorship has again surfaced in China. At the beginning of September, it was reported that the Chinese government was blocking access to the Ã¼ber-Internet search engine, Google, and more recently, AltaVista. China has offered very little in the way of explanation and seems content to remain behind the times, by not letting its businesses and people enjoy the conveniences of the World Wide Web.
China has tried in recent years to move away from providing state economic control by allowing private corporations to take on more economic responsibility. However, it is still determined to control what its population sees and reads.
Over 45 million Chinese citizens use the Internet, and they are already blocked to some Western sites, such as The New York Times and The Washington Post. Also, the Chinese government has developed safeguards against what it views as potentially threatening organizations on the Web. Search engines, such as Google, provided a loophole in the government’s ability to monitor all the Web content its citizens were reading.
While China may be worried about militant dissidents and anti-Communist thinking that can be proliferated on the Internet, the government is making it impossible for its economic base to be redistributed. In order to compete in a global marketplace the Web, in its entirety, must be available to all users. The Chinese government is placing its economic well-being in a precarious position if it thinks it can allow its corporations to gain autonomy without all the facts.
Global interdependence has rapidly become a catchphrase in the 21st century. Corporations and people all over the world must be able to communicate in real time, with access to all the information out there in order to be successful. By barring access to the Web, perhaps the greatest information provider of the past 50 years, China will remain in the proverbial dark.