Behind The Great Firewall of China: Expanding Censorship and Control
China may be making it even harder for global organizations to market products and services to Chinese consumers. The Chinese ministry of Industry and Information Technology released a proposal to censor domain names not registered within China. These domains would be automatically blocked by the Great Firewall of China. The proposal states that this will help prevent national security leaks and attempts to “undermine national unity.” However, the Great Firewall of China is just one of many measures by the Chinese government to maintain control over what their citizens have access to on the Internet.
Behind The Great Firewall of China: Long History of Censorship
For many people, the history of censorship is no surprise, as websites like Facebook, Google, and YouTube have been blocked by the Great Firewall of China for years. For others, this is a disturbing development, particularly those trying to break into the growing market of over 1.3 billion Chinese consumers. While only approximately 50 percent of Chinese citizens have access to the Internet today, that still accounts to over 700 million people. With the rapid growth of additional users by the millions every month, this market growth is very appealing to both globally recognized brands and new startups.
What happens if this measure passes and all sites outside of China are effectively blocked by the Great Firewall of China? Companies will be forced to build a presence within the constraints of the firewall, meaning registering .cn or .china domains with Chinese registrars, hosting websites, and DNS servers within the Chinese mainland. Furthermore, this means abiding by the strict Chinese rules governing the content allowed within the Great Firewall of China. According to the full draft of the document found at cnbeta.com, these rules include vague sentiments like the following:
- Not “harming national honor”
- Not “violating state religious policies”
- Disturbing “social order or undermining social stability.”
If this measure passes, it gives the Chinese government even more authority to discriminate against any website or company they see fit. Additionally, this gives them authority over which products, sites, and services Chinese citizens are allowed to consume.
This also means that companies that already host websites within the Chinese mainland may be affected if they use domain names or DNS servers not allowed by this proposed Chinese regulation. As the measure is currently open for public viewing until April 25th, it is currently unclear how much of the proposed rules will actually be implemented.
Testing Behind the Great Firewall of China: Is Your Website Blocked?
If you are interested in growing your customer base in China, or checking your website performance from China right now, you can run a free China Firewall Test to find out how your website currently performs and looks from locations behind the Great Firewall of China. Once the test is complete, you can drill-down further into individual elements through waterfall and performance charts, helping you easily identify elements of your website that may need to be optimized.