What does a ‘clean’ internet look like?
Actions in China and around the world have worked to limit individual citizens' rights on the Internet. However, a recent Chinese official has come out to say that the Internet in China is finally "clean," which leads one to wonder what such a cyberspace would actually look like.
Policies that regulate traffic, content and online regulation have been the subject of much controversy over the last few years, both in the United States and around the world. Be it copyright laws aimed at stopping piracy or surveillance programs in the name of national security, it seems that many attempts to regulate the Internet domestically have been met with much criticism.
This is due in part to the liberating nature of the tool. The Internet can provide users with access to information on a number of different topics and bring people together in ways that have not been seen previously. However, this is a cause of concern for many ruling powers, from the U.S. to China.
A "clean" Internet
To address this issue in China, the government has enacted what is widely considered one of the most stringent and regulatory online controls in the entire world. Known outside the country as the "Great Firewall of China," the government has blocked many popular websites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, according to Reuters.
While many of condemned these kinds of policies, and seen them as limiting of free speech and other human rights, the government has recently come out saying that its online regulations have been quite successful.
The news source noted that Ren Xianliang, the vice minister of the State Internet Information Office, recently spoke on these "successes."
"The fight against rumors has received a positive response and has been quite effective," he reportedly said. "The Internet has become clean. The frequency of slander has declined, but it has not impacted the orderly flow of information."
For the purposes of the Chinese government, Ren Xianliang would not be wrong in his statement. The country has come under a lot of flack with regard to many of its policies outside the internet, including its treatment of Tibet and those who advocate for Tibetan independence.
Current Chinese policies limit this kind of discourse, so by restricting Internet content, it can make sure that these issues are not raised too often in a public forum. However, this does not bode well for citizens that are looking to freely express their ideas. When it comes to online policies, citizens should question the intent of these kinds of policies and the ramifications they have on their individual rights.