According to the Reuters
article entitled "China's Safe Haven: Net Cafes
", many Chinese face issues of anonymity
, and free speech
by simply being online. In a nation under communist rule
, net cafes have proven to be "a dangerous window into an electronic world" outside the grasp of authorities, proffering opportunities to browse news of taboo political issues or even partake in their discussion anonymously. Police have increased their efforts in shutting down or banning net cafes all over China in an attempt to inhibit and capture both purveyors of "socially destabilizing content
" as well as their viewers.
In mass media it is understood that whomever controls the media controls the message. This is illustrated best back in World War II when the Nazi Minister of Propaganda subverted all forms of expression (press, radio, theater, etc.) as a form of mass manipulation, editing them for "unapproved" content and disbursing an "approved" message to the public. The Nazis were aware that those who control the medium, controls the message; that those who can control the message can control opinion. Should anyone be capable of controlling opinion, they can control thought.
If it is to be ruled, a free mind is a dangerous thing.
The article states that as little as "seven arrests of cyber dissidents since March show a push by China to stem subversion on the Web - which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison". Does China think it can control so large a medium as the Internet? Clearly, the answer is no. What China is trying to do, however, is deny access to it.
The Chinese government acknowledges that the Internet provides a forum for every voice to be heard. For this reason does it want to inhibit its citizenry from exploiting it. Such freedom of expression is at odds with their political stance.
"Thanks to Web cafes, they are unable to control me", quotes the article of one Su Hang, a Beijing programmer. "In Internet cafes, if I wanted to say something on the Internet, nobody could find me", he added. If not for the provisions made by net cafes coupled by the anonymous nature of the Internet, those living under the Chinese Communist Party's rule would not know of life outside of it... nor be able to speak of it.
One way or another, the global community that the Internet inspires will one day let the voices go not unheard.