China: September 5, 2002

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Google.com, the most effective Internet search engine available, is trying to find out exactly why the Chinese government has blocked access (in China) to google.com. It is thought that this is because google.com is too effective in finding things the government would prefer to stay hidden (political information and news embarrassing to the government.) The government has had to loosen its control on the media in order to deal with news racing around the country via the Internet (and demanding some kind of believable answer). This is a serious matter for a dictatorship, as control of the media provides sufficient control over public opinion (or, at least, public fears) to back up police and informers that keep political change at bay. At least 35 million Chinese have access to the Internet, and they can pass on what they see to about half of China's 1.2 billion people. The problem is that only about two percent of Chinese Internet users live in the countryside, where some 80 percent of the population works the land. The Chinese government has several thousand Internet technicians monitoring Internet traffic in China and blocking anything thought harmful to the government or communist party. 

 

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