China’s Censorship and Its Impact on China-US Relations - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

China’s Censorship and Its Impact on China-US Relations

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

A few more countries than we should be comfortable with, censor both the media and the internet. And not just for their citizens, but also for tourists and traveling business people.

Most of these places feel far enough away that it seems impossible for their laws to have a significant impact on our daily lives in America. However, our complicated yet close relationship with some, such as China, in certain industries, businesses, and trade is constantly under strain.

What is censored in China?

The excessive restrictions the Chinese government insists on maintaining regarding censorship of media on every platform and in every format means trade relations are hindered.

The censorship regulations in China are best described as draconian, with only North Korea — a country where the internet is inaccessible to most people altogether — beating it hands-down in terms of the strictest internet censorship across the globe.

In an effort to control their masses while propelling the ruling party’s propaganda, the Communist Party of China (CPC) inflexibly polices all forms of media — not just the internet. The government exercises its authority by censoring everything from television and film to literature and print media.

Even basic communication like emails and text and instant messages are monitored. In addition, there are topics of conversation that are completely off-limits at all times regardless of the medium — famously referred to as the Three Ts: Tiananmen, Taiwan, and Tibet — and anything else that could have an undesirable effect on the collective psyche of Chinese society.

Despite these wildly severe measures, the government of China stands by the notion that these restrictions do not infringe upon the basic rights of free speech of the Chinese people.

How strong is the Great Firewall?

The Great Wall of China is not the only Great Wall guarding citizens and visitors to China against invaders that could potentially pose a threat. The harsh firewall they’ve erected is, for all intents and purposes, completely impenetrable.

The firewall in China strictly blocks access across the board and doesn’t even allow foreign companies with offices in the country to access banned content for business purposes. Some of the recognizable American and foreign transnational companies that operate within China include Pfizer, General Motors, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Toyota, and Coca-Cola. This is the tip of list, the remainder is impressively long.

You can imagine that if China’s dictatorial restrictions won’t even permit social media access, the huge impact that it has on the daily functions of a multinational corporation.

Impact on China-US relations

With developments on their policies changing as often as the seasons do, China’s censorship regulations are convoluted and confusing, to say the least. Keeping up with what’s legal is just as difficult as trying to create a Facebook account.

Such rules place a massive burden on American companies that need to do business in China. Some business travelers choose to connect to one of the server locations of a VPN to circumvent geo-blocks in China. However, our industry leaders must continue looking for creative and innovative solutions to work around China’s laws.

These huge corporations keep relying on China for a few key reasons; the taxes are at least five percent lower than other nations where manufacturing is done on a large scale, the labor is very cheap, logistics are easily managed, and corruption doesn’t get in the way.

In addition to the way China makes doing business convenient and affordable, trade volume between the United States and the People’s Republic of China is, as of 2019, the highest among any two countries in history.

With so much at stake, would it be foolish for America to overtly criticize censorship in China? In the past, we have. However, it seems as though we are just going to keep tip-toeing around their authoritarian regime for the sake of keeping everything copacetic between two of the largest, most powerful economies in the world. Because at the end of the day, we need China and the access to keep doing business within their borders to keep the world’s economies afloat.

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