Google in China: When 'Don't Be Evil' Met the Great Firewall

Posted in: Miscellaneous at 09/11/2018 23:44

If you’re planning on moving to China anytime soon, here’s a piece of advice: Get yourself a WeChat account. Open up the “super app,” as it’s known in China, and you can do almost anything: Pay your cab fare, order from a five-star restaurant, buy fruit from a street vendor, or even give alms to a panhandler—they often wear QR codes slung around their necks. It’s possible to spend long stretches in China without so much as touching a banknote.

This makes the world’s second-largest economy an internet-enabled paradise, albeit with an important caveat. Much of the internet isn’t available. Facebook, Twitter, and parts of Wikipedia are all blocked by the “Great Firewall,” the program of government censorship that keeps anything even vaguely subversive offline. You can read the BBC, but only if you speak English. China blocks the broadcaster’s Mandarin news service, along with, the New York Times, and pretty much any news that contradicts the Communist Party line about Tibet, Falun Gong, Taiwan, or the country’s slowing economy.

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