From the Chinese government's perspective, the Golden Shield Project has the important purpose of preserving China's ideologies from unwanted foreign influences. During the period of economic reform in China towards a "socialist market economy", the government sought to open up to foreigners for market purposes but also wanted to preserve communist philosophies—resulting in the desire for a regulated Internet.

The name "Golden Shield Project" signifies the positivity the government associates with such a program. In the West, censorship automatically receives a negative vibe, but such a concept is not nearly as taboo as it is in China. The Chinese government views this censorship as a way of maintaining social cohesion by maintaining as unified of a national ideology as possible. For example, websites related to criminal activity are shut down. By keeping Chinese citizens in the dark about other possible ideologies that have certain benefits not present in Communism, citizens are less likely to revolt because they are not as enticed by alternatives.

Not only does the Golden Shield Project maintain social cohesion by trying to prevent rebellious thoughts, but it also prevents any potential follow-through execution of such sentiments. The banning of several social networks already makes it more difficult for social assembly. Additionally, the leaked Baidu list of censorship topics included terms such as "Collective protest", "Information on various types of human rights petition", "Assembly", "Riots", "Impact on the masses", "The use of force to suppress", "Forcing people to rebel", and other such search terms. Preventing citizens from being educated in these topics makes it substantially more difficult to organize any social movement or publicize social discontent.


Additionally, the mentality of permitting censorship becomes useful for combating certain internet phenomena, such as hate speech. The United States' relatively relaxed policy on Internet freedom makes it difficult to shut such websites down, while the Golden Shield Project can simply block the IP addresses of such sites.

While the Chinese people regularly protest their government's intense Internet censorship, average international sentiment towards the Great Firewall is more negative than the average Chinese sentiment. For many Chinese citizens, the Firewall is simply another part of everyday life. For those who choose to protest, however, such protestors often face stern governmental punishment. They often have to protest in anonymity and use many security measures to protect their own identity, using such methods as proxies, VPN, and SSH tunnels. Others brave punishment and actively blog their dissidence and openly protest through Web articles.

International attempts have also been made to combat China's great firewall, with Google's stance against their website censored in China one of the most famous instances. Read more here (link to Conrad's article). The United States attempted to pass Global Online Freedom Act to "promote freedom of expression on the Internet, to protect United States businesses from coercion to participate in repression by authoritarian foreign governments, and for other purposes," (Govtrack). While the bill was never passed, it exemplifies the growing American trend to find legal solutions to slowly end China's internet censorship.

China's Great Firewall remains the most prominent example of governmental Internet filtering and is often used as an example of the negative consequences of such censorship.