Georgia Sutjiadi Mrs. LindstromSenior CompositionDecember 9, 2017 Synthesis Paper: 2nd Draft Many people consider media censorship as an obvious attemptto oppress the freedom of speech. Possibly an equivalent to threatening the very definition of freedomitself. Today’s western culture is soobsessed with free speech, to the point where the difference between freedomand order has become uncertain. Mediacensorship may not be applicable for all types of government but enforcingstrengthened media laws might be necessary for a country new totechnology. China—a nation infamous fortheir state sponsored censorship—has been held as an exemplar model of “howauthoritarian regime might successfully manage” (Kalathil) the influence of thefilm industry, social networks and the news.
Before exploring the impact of media censorship it isessential to understand the development China’s Great Firewall. The Great Firewall of China, previously knownas the Golden Shield Project, acts as China’s “internet censorship andsurveillance project” (Ping). TheInternet was introduced to China in 1994, and president Jiang Zemin began tocarefully observe its influence. Afterlearning about Alvin Toffler’s “third wave theory”, which states that “theworld is moving away from the Industrial Age to the Information Age”, presidentJiang Zemin deduced that for China to compete with the world they must “bringin Western knowledge and open the country to foreign trade and investment”(Ping). Thus, under president’s request thegovernment enforced the Open Door policy. Immediately afterwards China faced an ironic dilemma. Their “struggle to strike a balance between”opening up” to the Western world and keeping its people away from Westernideology” (Ping) began to pose a substantial problem. To keep their own order and ideologies, theMinistry of Public Security responded with the Golden Shield Project.
The exponential speed in which the interesthas grown in China, however, forced the MPS to alter their project. Now, renamed the Great Firewall of China,they shifted their aim from “generalized content control at the gateway levelto individual surveillance of users at the edge of the network” (Walton). The Chinese Communist government desires to “reflect China’sofficial values and serve its interests” (Groot).
In the most basic sense, China wants to seekvengeance for past humiliations, receive recognition for its rich culture andultimately end the “global dominance of the English language and Westernvalues” (Groot). The Chinese nationalgovernment has been credited for their exponential economic growth but itappears that impressions from other countries regarding the Chinese people hasdeclined tremendously. Subjects such ashuman rights violations, pollution and other socio-political issues seem to bea key factors. For example, onlythirty-eight percent of Americans and nine percent of Japanese view Chinakindly (Groot). Since the early 2000s, the Chinese government has supportedlocal film industries to compete with Hollywood. But the Chinese appear to be lacking in thebox office business, despite “policies allow only thirty-four foreign films toscreen in China per year” (Groot). WangJianlin, owner of a shopping center chain, invested billions of dollars on AMC,a theatre chain.
Through his ambitiousendeavors he was able to acquire Odeon, UCI Cinemas Group and Carmike. According to the billionaire himself, hisaims is to “change the world where the rules are set by foreigners.” China’s “expensive attempt at imagemanagement” (Groot) may possibly be the reason behind such negativefeedback.
Those who say that media censorship is an obstruction toone’s individual rights aren’t even aware of how the Great Firewall affects anaverage Chinese netizen. Liu Kang claimsthat “tales of China’s political repression and terror have more to do with thepolitical, ideological and commercial objects of the Western media than withwhat really happens in China.” Theamount of internet in China is approximately 253 million users, 40 million morethan the United States (Enge). Whenseventy percent of those users deem it “necessary” for internet control, thisisn’t an indication of brainwash but instead demonstrates the fact that theterm “control” has a different definition in China.