We all know that China is one of those countries where individual liberties and general freedom is close to inexistent. Recently the country intensified this tendency by approving further online censorship laws, which not only allow the government to put hands on every piece of information, but also forces Chinese ISPs to store record logs for a period of 6 months. All this comes as an addition to the world-famous Great Firewall that is already in place, regulating the internet access of over 700 million users.
Storing Records and Deleting Content
With this bill, Chinese ISPs will be forced to hold record logs of hundreds of millions of users, and to hand in information upon request to the country’s different legal authorities. Furthermore, the government now has the ability to fully censor or even delete any content from blogs, forums, social media comments, to photos and videos published online by anyone, while claiming that this measure was necessary to assure national security. For instance, content that could disrupt the economic and social order, or could incite to topple the socialist system will be forbidden to be published, and Chinese messaging apps will only accept registrations from citizens that confirm their identities. Legal companies – either they are Chinese or foreign – are also forced to cooperate with the government in legal questions or criminal investigations.
A Common Practice in Strict Regimes
China is known for imposing internet blocks on social media like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter or YouTube (just to name the usual targets) quite often using The Great Firewall. In fact, the country is not the only one enforcing online censorship: others like Turkey has also been implementing similar measures on its citizens, although on a smaller scale. However, we cannot stop wondering to what extent forcing ISPs to hold record logs of millions for six months, and snooping upon social media comments could increase the number of Chinese VPN users, considering the existence of the aforementioned extra layer of repression.
Notwithstanding, it is exactly the Great Firewall that will be responsible for applying the censorship, as users can get sentenced for three years in jail, for sharing defamatory content about the government, in case it has been shared over 500 times or reached 5,000 views.
As a final note, in addition to internet, the movie industry will fall under the same censoring rules too.
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