Thanks to the help of United States technology giants like Cisco, the CCP was able to develop advanced censorship tools that effectively block the average citizen in China from ever receiving unbiased sources of news. In essence, they are trapped in a walled garden provided to them by the CCP. This is the ultimate form of trade protectionism — it simply prevents the citizens of China from ever being able to access websites like Facebook or Twitter.
The CCP also maintains extremely large “propaganda” organizations that are co-mingled with the “Cyberspace Administration of China”, also known as the CAC. One such former leader — Lu Wei — was arrested in recent anti-corruption campaigns and was noted for his particular depravity in his personal life. Not even the South China Morning Post could hide his actions (read the article here) — because he was well connected in the technology industry in the United States.
This “isolationism by design” has enabled the CCP to employ its highly sophisticated technology, utilizing both manual and AI-driven censorship tools to crack down on dissent within and outside of its borders. As far as trade protectionism is concerned — the fact that Chinese citizens are not allowed to participate in the “internet economy” like the rest of the world has severely hampered its own growth.
According to the EFF, the CCP even specifically requested (and received) modules to be built by Cisco for the explicit purposes of conducting human rights abuses and forced “conversions” for religious organizations like the Falun Gong. A severe penalty should be imposed upon Cisco in this case to discourage future companies based in the United States from aiding such gross violations of human rights when operating in the jurisdiction of foreign countries. Cisco likely sells this same exact technology to enterprise companies in the United States as part of its corporate suite of tools “to protect” users from harmful or malicious sites.
The GFW is part of the “Golden Shield” project — a suite of surveillance and censorship tools that the CCP has developed internally and actively exports to its client states. This report from Reporters without Borders shows that the CCP sells this technology to authoritarian leaning countries like Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Vietnam.
The Great Firewall is the isolationists dream come true and isn’t comparable in its negative impacts to global economic growth against tariffs in its severity — although we should be hesitant before using any CCP owned technology, even if the GFW didn’t exist.
For more information on how that censorship has arrived — see our previous article on TikTok here.