China has blocked the latest artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, from being offered to the public by major tech companies in the social media app business. The reason for the ban is reportedly due to concerns that the AI tool could be used to spread propaganda that would be censored by the Chinese Communist Party.
ChatGPT has the ability to generate high-quality essays and text on any subject in response to a prompt or query with minimal human input. However, its potential use for spreading uncensored information has caused the Chinese government to restrict its availability.
It is worth noting that China has a strict internet censorship regime, commonly referred to as the “Great Firewall,” which blocks access to many foreign websites and services, including social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as search engines like Google. The Chinese government also maintains strict control over the content that can be shared on domestic social media platforms and messaging apps.
Internet in China
China has one of the most restrictive internet environments in the world. The Chinese government heavily censors and regulates online content, often blocking access to foreign websites, social media platforms, and messaging apps that it deems politically sensitive or inappropriate. The country’s internet censorship system, commonly referred to as the “Great Firewall,” operates by using a combination of technical and administrative measures to monitor, filter, and block internet traffic.
In addition to blocking access to foreign websites, the Chinese government also maintains strict controls over domestic social media platforms and messaging apps, requiring them to comply with regulations on content moderation and user data. Chinese authorities also use a variety of tools to monitor and track online activity, including real-name registration requirements and facial recognition technology.
Despite these restrictions, the internet is a crucial part of daily life for many people in China, with the country having the world’s largest number of internet users.
A dangerous way around
In such situations many Chinese nationals look for other ways of accessing the platform. Most of such alternative ways are illegal. However, they are still used.
Here are some alternatives:
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): Many people in China use VPNs to access the internet, which can encrypt their traffic and bypass government censorship. However, the Chinese government has been cracking down on the use of VPNs in recent years, and many VPN services have been blocked.
- Proxy servers: Proxy servers can be used to access blocked websites by routing internet traffic through servers outside of China.
- Tor: The Tor network is another tool that can be used to access blocked websites and services. Tor routes internet traffic through a series of servers, making it difficult for authorities to trace users’ online activities.
- Shadowsocks: Shadowsocks is an open-source proxy tool that can be used to bypass internet censorship in China. It uses a technique called “socks5” to encrypt internet traffic and route it through a remote server.
- DNS servers: Some people in China use alternative DNS servers, such as Google DNS or Cloudflare DNS, to access blocked websites.
It’s important to note that circumventing the Chinese government’s internet restrictions can be risky, and users could face legal consequences for doing so. Therefore, it’s important for individuals to carefully consider the risks and take appropriate measures to protect their privacy and security.