China recently announced that they plan to strengthen restrictions on Internet service providers. The new rules require Internet companies to provide technical assistance to the police and national security agencies. This policy shows that the Chinese government is returning to their shortsighted ways and may hold back economic growth in China.

China recently announced that they plan to strengthen restrictions on Internet service providers. The new rules require Internet companies to provide technical assistance to the police and national security agencies. This policy shows that the Chinese government is returning to their shortsighted ways and may hold back economic growth in China.

For decades, China has enforced Internet censorship, which is one of the forms of thought control that the Chinese Communist Party has imposed since 1949. Words like “democracy,” “dictatorship,” “corruption” and “dissent” are all banned. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are unavailable in China as well. The Chinese government calls this “promoting harmony,” saying that they are maintaining social order.

At the same time as China tightens control over media and public speech, trying to cut off the connection between the Chinese and the world, the Chinese government is seeking an opportunity to be one of economic powerful countries in the world.  

However, for a powerful country like China, controlling free speech perhaps will enhance government’s power, but definitely will not increase economic growth and bring China closer to the world stage.

Freedom is the key foundation to developing a country. It also stimulates people’s creativity and thoughts, which can improve every industry in the country. This is what China needs for economic boost.

Obviously, the Chinese government has not learned the lesson from Cultural Revolution completely and is still enjoying their power of controlling people. During the period of Cultural Revolution, China run several thought-reform programs as a method of indoctrinating the Chinese, limiting opposition to the government. During Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government paid full attention to strengthening its power by using brainwash tactics, and expected production to improve naturally as result of “revolution.”

But the reality was the 10-year Cultural Revolution drove the economy of China into the depth of collapse, and excluded China from the world stage.

After the catastrophe caused by Cultural Revolution, Chinese Communist Party spared lots of efforts to recover the economy. 40 years later, China finally can enjoy its rapid economic growth for decades to come at rates well above those of any other large countries in the world.

However, it seems that China will not be a true economic power if people do not have freedom to see what they want and are still controlled by an overpowered government.

China has been filled with ambition to become one of the most powerful countries in the world. But if the Chinese government still holds power tightly and does not tolerate any opposite opinions, their goal will hardly be fulfilled.


Phoebe Fan graduated from the University of Washington with a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies. She is interested in any cultural issues from ancient Chinese literature to contemporary Western fashion.

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