The Chinese regime seems to take pleasure in asserting its control over pretty much all aspects of Chinese society. China says it wants to play friendly and open its economy to the rest of the world, but likes to keep tight grips on such necessities as access to media, technology, and even eating sushi off of naked women – who’d have thought?
Table of Contents
- 1 1. Facebook – No, You Cannot Stalk Your Ex
- 2 2. Instagram – Who Needs to Post What They Had for Breakfast Anyway?
- 3 3. Twitter – Don’t You Mean Fanfou?
- 4 4. WhatsApp – You Can’t Message Someone without Being Watched
- 5 5. Google Suite – Who Needs Google, Your Mother Knows Everything
- 6 6. Snapchat – Now Accepting Pictures with Your Clothes On
- 7 7. Pinterest – You Might Have to Actually Start Printing Things Soon
- 8 8. YouTube – You’ll have to Find Your Cat-Fails Somewhere Else
- 9 9. Skype – Better Just Cover Your Cam While You’re at It
- 10 10. News Sites – What Even Is Real Information?
- 11 Kicking Down the ‘Great’ Firewall of China
The Chinese government has proved to be somewhat of a control freak when it comes to asserting control not only for online access to content and certain media outlets, but just about anything it deems ‘unsuitable’ for its people. Alice in Wonderland is banned on the grounds that “animals should not use human language,” because why not suck the fun out of life a little? And, if you’re unlucky enough to be caught trying to use social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram, you’re likely to go the way same way as Brad Pitt, who is banned from entering China. Really!
Internet censorship is so unbelievably extreme, that it’s even now known worldwide as the ‘Great Firewall of China’ – you know things are getting serious when it has its own name. The regime has buckled down on apps, Google searches, blocked access to foreign websites and pretty much anything that isn’t essentially Chinese through and through.
Here’s a list of 10 things (to name a few) that you’ll have trouble finding any trace of in China.
1. Facebook – No, You Cannot Stalk Your Ex
China pulled the plug on Facebook in 2009, likely due to riots that broke out between the Han Chinese and Muslim Uighurs that year. And even though Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg shook hands with President Xi Jinping himself, it seems it’s going to take a bit more than some skin on skin contact for things to change. With China having its very own cyber parallel universe, heavily censored and controlled may we add, Facebook is only available in the rip-off version known as ‘Renren.’
2. Instagram – Who Needs to Post What They Had for Breakfast Anyway?
The booming photo sharing app Instagram also owned by Facebook was banned soon after the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in 2014, implanting fear into the regime of a link between civil unrest and social media platforms.
3. Twitter – Don’t You Mean Fanfou?
Fanfou, a popular Twitter clone is the only form of Twitter you’ll see floating around China. Like Facebook, Twitter was also banned in 2009, landing a spot in the long line of websites censored in China. The Fanfou Twitter clone is, of course, far more censored than Twitter – allowing for the regime to assert its control over what is and isn’t said online.
4. WhatsApp – You Can’t Message Someone without Being Watched
WhatsApp is another big no-no, totally off-limits! The WhatsApp ban that came in this year (2017) comes as another big blow to Facebook whom it is owned by. Honestly, what’s next?! Taking its censorship to another level, the sharing of messages, images and files is a now a no-go area, unless using a Chinese version of the app ‘WeChat,’ that practically kisses the feet of the Chinese Regime. In other words, they are watching you!
5. Google Suite – Who Needs Google, Your Mother Knows Everything
We really take for granted the freedom we have to search just about anything on Google without freaky restrictions. Despite being the number-one search engine in the world (as of 2014) the Chinese can no longer access any of Google’s services including Gmail, Maps, Docs…etc.
The Chinese government claim it is due to Google storing information about Chinese use on non-Chinese servers, as well as the freedom of access to ‘inappropriate’ content. Another controversial theory claims that it was in order to direct all searches to the Chinese version of Google, known as Baidu, whose content is heavily censored and monitored by the government. Determined users who are up for a fight can access Google through a VPN by masking their IP, but even some of those have fallen before the Great Firewall.
6. Snapchat – Now Accepting Pictures with Your Clothes On
The people of China are totally barred from accessing this fun and seemingly harmless app. To the Chinese Regime looking at apps such as Snapchat, they see one thing and one thing only; Western abomination. Anything that has ‘Western’ written all over it is pretty much banned, in order to give domestic tech companies the time to develop their very own mimicked versions.
7. Pinterest – You Might Have to Actually Start Printing Things Soon
Talk about going back to the dark ages, for years Pinterest slipped through the fingers of the Chinese Regime, and the Chinese people had full access, but in March 2017, it too was shot down. The banning of Pinterest may be more down to protectionism than politics (like Snapchat), allowing for copycats to take advantage.
8. YouTube – You’ll have to Find Your Cat-Fails Somewhere Else
YouTube has been off limits to the Chinese since 2009, without any clear reasons for the ban. The truth is, the Chinese standards for online content is just about as clear as the murky Mississippi River. But, it could be something to do with the mirrored YouTube sites known as Youku and Tudou, reaping in an average of one billion dollars a year. Again, protectionism at its finest.
9. Skype – Better Just Cover Your Cam While You’re at It
Though the official Skype was strictly barred in China as of 2010, Chinese users are able to access an almost identical version, infested with ads and spyware of course, called ‘Skype TOM.’ Happy calling!
10. News Sites – What Even Is Real Information?
If you thought the ludicrousness ended there, you’re wrong! We’ve gathered by now that the Chinese Regime have control of all social media sites, means of communication and the way in which information is searched. But on top of that, they restrict the information available to its citizens. The Economist and TIME have recently joined the long list of news sites strictly blocked to mainland China. You won’t find anything from the BBC, NY Times, Bloomberg, or Reuters, and the list goes on.
Any content deemed unfavorable or inappropriate in the eyes of the government is blocked in the bat of an eyelid. With such power over the distribution of information, the people of China are deprived of the basic right to freedom of speech, lacking the information and tools that we take for granted.
Kicking Down the ‘Great’ Firewall of China
The Chinese people are sadly slaves to their government on another level, and we think it’s about time that the Chinese and anyone visiting the country, stood up for their rights as human beings. The regime stands to implement protectionism and strict control over the information available to its people. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
There is a simple solution to bypass all of this, and knock down the Great Firewall of China – using a Virtual Private Network will allow users to access all of the above blocked content. Just make sure that the VPN you are using is capable of the challenge (see our VPN review for top market contenders).