Govt adviser criticises web censorship
A senior Chinese government adviser has warned that the country’s internet censorship is hampering scientific research and economic development, in a rare public criticism of a sensitive government policy.
Slow access to overseas academic websites have forced domestic researchers to buy software to circumvent China’s siteblocking firewall, or even travel overseas to conduct research, Luo Fuhe, vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, said here.
Luo’s remarks, reported by state media yesterday, came as national leaders and thousands of representatives are gathering here for the national legislature’s annual session.
Luo’s conference, the CPPCC, is the official advisory body to the legislature, the National People’s Congress.
China’s sophisticated internet censorship tools block numerous foreign social media and news websites, while discussion of political topics and other sensitive issues, such as Tibet and Taiwan, are routinely censored.
However, the same tools also hamper access to some research and university websites, whether inadvertently or by design.
In response, many Chinese employ virtual private networks to scale the censors’ blocks, known sometimes as “the Great Firewall of China”.
The communist government recently renewed a push for a greater role in global internet governance based on restrictions and regulations rather than the principle of free-flow of information found in democratic societies.