Internet Censorship in Asia

What Travels Can Do to Bypass Restrictions

If you’re thinking of traveling to Asia, you should be aware of internet censorship there. In particular, China and countries in Southeast Asia have taken steps to limit the content their citizens can see online. Thankfully, there is always a way for you to access restricted or blocked content in Asian countries.

Political Tension and Freedom of Information

Around the world, there are people who dedicate their lives to monitoring the freedom of information in countries. For some of these independent organizations, they have been seeing an uptick in the number of sites being blocked in Asia, specifically in Southeast Asia.

What’s interesting is that it didn’t start out bad. The governments seemingly had good intentions. For example, they wanted to protect copyright materials such as songs and movies. But it was clear that the agencies had too much power in their hands — so much so that even adult content became strictly off-limits to anyone in the country.

Instead of protecting its citizens from dangerous content, the government is becoming repressive. They want to silence the opposition and any vocal critics. If someone spots you criticizing the government, authorities could locate you and have you arrested. It is censorship in the form of protection.

This is a huge deal since human rights also apply in the digital sphere. Governments should respect the right of their people to speak up. Sadly, they also fear that the freedom of citizens to speak could lead to their downfall. In their bid to cling to power, the governments in Southeast Asia are manipulating the online world.

A Bad Turn of Events

Several years ago, it seemed that Asia was going to be the role model when it comes to freedom on the Internet. But as Malaysia began to block entire news websites and even prosecute people for their social media posts, it was clear that corruption still abounds.

While more and more people in Asia get access to the Internet, they are not given opportunities to maximize it. Governments limit what they can see on their phones and laptops. Worse, internet censorship is being combined with online propaganda.

In the case of the Philippines, there is a great reason to believe that the government is hiring trolls and influencers to manipulate public sentiment. But wherever you decide to go to Asia, it is essential that you know all about online security options due to the fact that you may lost your connection for some of the online content.

Censorship in China

Arguably one of the worst forms of internet censorship is found in China. Countries in Southeast Asia already have restrictive measures, but China is at the forefront of controlling the Internet. With more than a billion people, the country does what it can to maintain the status quo.

The censorship here is so potent that it’s called the Great Firewall of China. The government has spent a considerable degree of time to create policies that restrict online content. As of now, there are at least 60 restrictions that businesses, organizations, and state-owned internet service providers must follow.

Even the Cable News Network (CNN) admits that internet censorship here is complex and extensive. If you visit here, you will find it difficult to bypass restrictions. Worse, the country is also known for how it monitors the browsing habits of its citizens.

What You Can Do

Of course, there’s no reason for you not to got Asia — even with all these issues of internet censorship. If you’re just there to enjoy the sights and sounds and not check your devices, you can go as you please. But if you have work to do or you still want to view your favorite web content, you need to be wary.

For one, you can look for a virtual private network (VPN) service. It’s quite affordable and it secures your browsing activities. It can even hide your real IP address from state-owned ISPs. With it, you can have another IP address located in another country — allowing you to check your social media accounts.

You may experience a slight reduction in Internet speed, but that’s a minor loss in exchange for bypassing restrictions. Likewise, you can look for DNS servers that aren’t government-controlled. If you have a bit of technical know-how, you can adjust to work for your device as intended.

Apart from these two options, you can also take advantage of proxy servers. The anonymous variants are designed to hide certain details regarding your computer. These may work more efficiently than a VPN service, but they aren’t ideal for playing video games in international servers.

In conclusion, there is room for improvement in internet use in Asia. The goal here is for citizens to assert their rights offline and online. The government should respect the freedom of information. But in the meantime, the people there have a few options to bypass internet censorship.