Background Information

China is known for its strict policies regarding information control in comparison to the regulations adopted in other countries. The Golden Shield Project, often called the "great firewall of China", is an initiative managed by the Ministry of Public Security division of the Chinese government. As the nickname implies, the focus of this project is to monitor and censor what can and cannot be seen through an online network in China. This project started in 1998 and is still continually improving in restriction techniques through multiple methods. The OpenNet Initiative performed an empricial study that concluded that China has "the most sophisticated content-filtering Internet regime in the world". Some technical methods used are IP blocking, which denies the IP addresses of specific domains, packet filtering, which scans packets of data for controversial keywords, credit records, and speech and facial recognition.

To get an idea of how strict the policy is, consists of a list of the most popular sites in the United States. Google, Facebook, and Yahoo are the top 3; of these top 3, none are allowed in China. This is to be expected due to the quick information dissemination possible through these social domains. The website lets users see whether their inputted domains are blocked in China, and is a convenient tool for demonstrating the widespread filtering employed by China.


China's primary search engine and most accessed website, Baidu, employs heavy censorship within its own search algorithms. Baidu "has a long history of being the most proactive and restrictive online censor in the search arena" (China Digital Times). Baidu claims to do this to help enforce existing censorship policies. In April 2009, certain Baidu documents that reveal some topics the search engine looks to censor have been leaked. These topics range from "Letters" to "Rights".