Eleven years after its initial connection to the World Wide Web (WWW), China’s access to the Internet is still guarded by firewalls, embedded in its proxy servers, which have proven to be more practical and impenetrable than the Berlin Wall. Moreover, an increase in the demand for broadband connection has triggered the launch of an $800 million “Jin Dun (Golden Shield) Project,” an automatic digital system of public policing that will help prolong Communist rule by denying China’s people the right to information.
The principle underlying the Golden Shield is that “as virtue rises one foot, vice rises ten.” Aided by systems developed by western intelligence agencies, China has forged a virtual sword that threatens to block the path to democracy.
Internet “gateways” mainly supervise and filter political information in China. Their technical functions include blocking overseas Web sites, filtering content and key words on Web pages, monitoring email and Internet cafes, hijacking PC’s, sending out viruses, and inter-connecting with the monitoring systems of the Public Security Bureaus. Rather than heralding a new era of freedom, the Internet is enabling Chinese authorities to perfect totalitarian control in a way that puts the rulers in George Orwell’s 1984 to shame.
Since April 15 of this year, the Golden Shield’s advanced science and technology has been monitoring every thought and action of those Chinese people who use the Internet. But what Orwell failed to predict is that China’s government has accomplished this with the help of Western democracies.