How China-US Rivalry Is Dividing The Internet


How China-US Rivalry Is Dividing The Internet

When Hyunjin Seo visited Beijing in July last year, she scrolled through Google News on her smartphone and discovered several reports about an attack on the city’s US embassy.

An associate professor at the University of Kansas’s journalism department, she bypassed China’s strict digital media censors thanks to the roaming plan of her US phone firm. This allowed her to access websites such as those from Google not available in China.

“I was telling my Chinese friends about the bomb detonating outside the [US] embassy and they didn’t know what I was talking about, because this news wasn’t appearing in their search feeds,” recalls Prof Seo, who teaches courses on digital media.Rivals is a season of in-depth coverage on BBC News about the contest for supremacy between the US and China across trade, tech, defence and soft power.

Her experience is common for any westerner visiting China.

The internet in the world’s most populous country is heavily restricted and censored, leading experts to speculate that in the future there could be two distinct internets – one led by China and one by the US.

The point was made last year by former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt.

At a private event, when an economist asked Mr Schmidt (now a board member of Google parent company Alphabet) about the potential of the internet fragmenting into different sub-internets with different regulations, he replied, “I think the most likely scenario now is not a splintering, but rather a bifurcation into a Chinese-led internet and a non-Chinese internet led by America.”

Such a divide is already in place, due to the Great Firewall of China, a government-sponsored programme that censors content within its digital borders. Chinese users can’t access Facebook, Twitter, Dropbox or Pinterest, among other popular sites.

They also can’t read online information on the Tiananmen Square massacre or criticism aimed at President Xi Jinping. Even online images of Winnie the Pooh have been banned in China after protesters compared President Xi’s face to the classic Disney character.

“In one of the biggest markets in the world, tech companies are leaving because they can’t fully operate how they want to, by freely sharing information online,” notes Ms Seo.

Such censorship means overseas businesses are hampered if they want to expand into China – one of the most attractive markets in the world.

US National Parks Face Crisis Over Invasive Animal Species

No matter the size of the company, to operate in China overseas firms have to jump through hoops that can cause them problems.

While Apple services and products are available in China, the California-based tech giant has sparked controversy over its activities in the Chinese market. In 2017, China asked Apple to remove the New York Times and Skype app from its App Store. Apple complied.

Google has also waded into Chinese waters, only to be met with intense criticism. Most notably, Google secretly worked on a version of its search engine to go up against Chinese-born Baidu.

How China-US Rivalry Is Dividing The Internet

The Chinese-only Google would censor some results relating to human rights violations and controversial laws. “Project Dragonfly” was uncovered in a 2018 article by The Intercept, and Google eventually scrapped the project.

“When you enter search terms in China on their search engine, you get a different result from what you see in the West,” says Sarah Cook, senior China research analyst at Freedom House, a US independent watchdog focusing on human rights. “The red lines of what is being censored are constantly moving.”

2019 marks the fourth year in a row that Freedom House has ranked China at the bottom for Internet freedom in its annual report “Freedom on the Net”.

A business looking to enter China has to either play by the rules or leave. For example, LinkedIn doesn’t allow Chinese users to access politically sensitive profiles or posts from people outside the country.

Why such restrictions on a tool specifically designed to open up digital realms of information, media and debate?

“That censorship relates to the legitimacy of the Chinese Communist Party and promoting an official narrative about the nation-state,” says Renren Yang, an assistant professor of modern Chinese popular culture at the University of British Columbia.

While Chinese internet users can’t use Google and WhatsApp, they have Chinese equivalents, Baidu and WeChat.

Meanwhile, Amazon shut down its online store in China earlier this year in the face of poor sales trying to compete against Alibaba.

Isn’t China already crafting its own parallel internet?

“An isolated Chinese internet is cut off from the rest of the world,” says Ms Cook. “And what is worrying is that other countries are copying what China is doing by blocking access to certain sites or slowing down net service during protests or rallies.”

Prof Yang says it would only benefit China to usher in more Western companies seeking to bring its services to the country. “For example, competition with Chinese local telecom companies will spawn the invention of new technologies and new services that people can afford and utilize. Competition brings forth innovation.”

Prof Seo isn’t optimistic China will change its online tune anytime soon. “Since China has replaced Western media with their own apps and sites, they don’t really need western tech companies.”

Other experts are hopeful that a splintering of the Internet won’t be permanent.

Prof Yang says: “One day, I’d like to see the Great Firewall come down, just like the Berlin Wall did.”

How China-US Rivalry Is Dividing The Internet


  1. Hello there! I just would love to provide a significant thumbs up for the fantastic information you have here on this blog post. I will be coming back to your blog site for more quickly.

  2. Attractive section of content. I just stumbled upon your site and in accession capital to claim that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing for your augment or even I fulfillment you get entry to persistently fast.

  3. I was very pleased to find this internet-site.I wished to thanks on your time for this wonderful learn!! I definitely having fun with every little little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to take a look at new stuff you weblog post.

  4. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed! Very useful information particularly the last part 🙂 I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  5. Thanks for your article. I also believe that laptop computers have become more and more popular nowadays, and now are usually the only form of computer employed in a household. This is because at the same time actually becoming more and more affordable, their computing power is growing to the point where these are as robust as personal computers from just a few years ago.

  6. We are Daylight Studio, a boutique photography studio in East London available for hire. We are a creative natural light studio space with decorated French walls, lots of props and furniture and massive windows for great natural light. He have a unique selection of chairs, fabric backgrounds and a sofa for your next natural light photography project. The studio is great for fashion, portrait and commercial photography and if natural light photography studio is not your thing we have a lot of lighting equipment available for you as well and that includes studio strobe lights with various modifiers and LED constant lights for video production. We also have facilities for e-commerce photography. Please see the studio’s gallery here.

  7. Its such as you read my thoughts! You appear to understand so much about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I believe that you simply could do with some percent to pressure the message home a little bit, however instead of that, this is magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I will definitely be back.

  8. Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to assert that I acquire in fact enjoyed account your blog posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing to your augment and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

  9. Syndbuddy two.0 – Check out How You can obtain Absolutely free, Qualified-Traffic To ANY Provide (or Company) By Possessing Our PROVEN, Military of 6,189 customers Do ALL Your Social Syndication FOR YOU to help you Rank On Website page 1 in 48 several hours or Fewer (Massive BONUSES INCLUDED!)

  10. I additionally believe that mesothelioma is a exceptional form of cancer that is typically found in those people previously familiar with asbestos. Cancerous tissue form from the mesothelium, which is a protective lining that covers almost all of the body’s organs. These cells ordinarily form within the lining from the lungs, mid-section, or the sac which actually encircles one’s heart. Thanks for revealing your ideas.

  11. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy. I have read this publish and if I may I desire to suggest you few attention-grabbing things or suggestions. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I wish to learn even more things approximately it!

  12. Thanks for your concepts. One thing really noticed is the fact banks along with financial institutions really know the spending habits of consumers and also understand that the majority of people max out there their own credit cards around the breaks. They correctly take advantage of this specific fact and begin flooding your current inbox and snail-mail box along with hundreds of 0 APR credit card offers just after the holiday season closes. Knowing that for anyone who is like 98 of all American community, you’ll leap at the possiblity to consolidate credit debt and move balances for 0 interest rates credit cards.

  13. We allow you to develop with our large collection of cannabis escalating supplies together with indoor cannabis mature tents, hottest tech in weed growing lights, opinions examined marijuana cultivation hydroponics expand gear, and thousands additional materials that can help you improve the dankest cannabis!

  14. Thanks for the marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading it, you could be a great author.I will make certain to bookmark your blog and may come back down the road. I want to encourage one to continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!

  15. Right now you can do a thing about your excess weight along with your wellness. A thing that works speedy. Relatively straightforward way too. Nothing this effective is “quick”, but This really is as simple as it will eventually at any time get. It’s also delicious and satisfying, making use of standard foods You should buy anywhere.

  16. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your site. You have some really good posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an email if interested. Regards!

  17. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re using? I’m going to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a tough time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

  18. Get help to stop drinking. Helping women quit drinking alcohol. Coach Mary Wagstaff. Feel better, mind, body and soul. Mindfulness based coaching and alcohol recovery. Yoga for recovery.

  19. Great weblog right here! Additionally your site lots up very fast! What web host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate link for your host? I desire my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  20. Thanks for your marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back later on. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great writing, have a nice afternoon!

  21. I’d should verify with you here. Which is not something I normally do! I take pleasure in reading a put up that can make individuals think. Also, thanks for permitting me to comment!

  22. One more important issue is that if you are an elderly person, travel insurance pertaining to pensioners is something you must really take into account. The mature you are, greater at risk you happen to be for getting something undesirable happen to you while overseas. If you are never covered by quite a few comprehensive insurance, you could have quite a few serious troubles. Thanks for revealing your good tips on this weblog.

  23. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your site is so cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched everywhere and simply couldn’t come across. What a great web-site.

  24. Can I recently say what relief to locate somebody that actually knows what theyre dealing with on the internet. You definitely learn how to bring an issue to light and earn it important. Workout . need to see this and understand why side from the story. I cant think youre less common since you absolutely contain the gift.

  25. I¡¦ve read a few good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you put to create this type of great informative website.

  26. Its superb as your other articles : D, regards for putting up. “I catnap now and then, but I think while I nap, so it’s not a waste of time.” by Martha Stewart.

  27. Nice post. I discover something more difficult on different blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to learn to read content from other writers and use something from their website. I’d would prefer to use some while using content in my small blog whether or not you don’t mind. Natually I’ll provide a link in your web blog. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Arx Nimbus’ Thrivaca Risk Analytics Platform provides the first financially-relevant Digital Risk Profile for the enterprise, underwriters and brokers. Using a patented algorithm developed in collaboration with leading universities, the DoD and federal regulators, Thrivaca consolidates industry historical analysis, your latest analyses and assessments, proprietary vulnerability scans, audit data and actuarial mathematics to produce a complete and detailed valuation of enterprise-wide digital risk, and the top sources of current carrying cost.

  29. There are certainly a lot of information like that to consider. That is a fantastic point to raise. I provide the ideas over as basic ideas however plainly there are inquiries like the one you bring up where one of the most essential point will be working in straightforward good faith. I don?t know if best techniques have actually emerged around points like that, however I make sure that your task is clearly identified as a level playing field. Both children and also girls feel the impact of simply a moment?s enjoyment, for the rest of their lives.

  30. Hello! I simply wish to give a huge thumbs up for the terrific info you have right here on this blog post. I will certainly be coming back to your blog for more soon.

  31. An added important part is that if you are an older person, travel insurance intended for pensioners is something you ought to really contemplate. The elderly you are, the harder at risk you happen to be for allowing something bad happen to you while in most foreign countries. If you are not really covered by a number of comprehensive insurance cover, you could have quite a few serious challenges. Thanks for expressing your hints on this blog site.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here