Sorry, free internet is not here

As a translator in the digital age, you cannot survive without internet. The online information is a living dictionary and library to ensure the accuracy and fitness of the translation. Also, the project communication is mainly done through internet – the email, e-conference, and even instant messages. Furtherly, you need the online platforms to do the marketing so as to get more high-end offers. The importance of internet cannot be over emphasized. In fact, internet is indispensable for all industries in this century.

However, the essential philosophy of internet – the democracy of knowledge sharing – has been manipulated by political elites in some regions, such as North Korea, Cuba, and unfortunately in my homeland China. I should have been satisfied with the internet services compared with that of North Korea and Cuba. Some of the domestic services are somewhat nice and convenient – the e-commerce, the taxi hailing, video sharing, domestic social media platforms, etc. But the essence is lacked in the core: a free internet, the true democracy feature of internet.

Two days ago, in January 22, 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of PRC announced a new police which aims to regulate the internet access services. It says the current internet access services market in China is too messy so it is necessary to regulate and shape it – clear up those illegal services and maintain a healthy development of the internet industry. It aims to complete the whole regulation job by March 31, 2018. I am so shocked by one of its regulations: No VPN is allowed unless being approved by the telecommunication authorities.

The reason most people use VPN is because lots of excellent internet services are blocked by the government. For example, Google services are not available in China, but there is no qualified equivalent to substitute Google. When I need to search new terms in translation jobs, only Google can give the most efficient and effective hits. The Chinese equivalent Baidu.com is dull, especially in searching English content. Google is blocked because it refuses to play nice with the Chinese government, but rather sticks to its rule of playing no evil. The internet service here is becoming complicated which mingles with politics. I need Google, and I know little about politics. I just want the free and true internet service to keep my daily translation possible. But the fact tells me: sorry, free internet is not here.

A neat and clean internet market is expected to be available next year, which is hard to image how the small businesses like me could thrive. What is worse is that I do not know how to stop and handle with this terrible thing, and how to contribute to a better and democratic homeland for my children. What is described in George Orwel’s dystopia novel 1984 is kind of playing alive in the land where I am living. Terrible.

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