How does China's strict policies on communication affect Crossing Borders' efforts working with North Korean refugees? The Communist Party in China wants to retain power and this means that they stifle voices of dissent. This is why China restricts Internet usage, monitors phone communication and restricts freedom of the press.
China employs a total of 250,000 to 300,000 people to monitor their websites. (Source: “How Censorship in China Allows Government Criticism but Silences Collective Expression,” 2013. King, Pan, Roberts.)
That’s about the population of Anchorage, Alaska.
China knows that messages of dissent can quickly spread through the Web so they do everything they can to squash them.
In 2011, one of the most outspoken critics of the Chinese government, artist and activist Ai Weiwei, was arrested and detained for 81 days on what was believed to be trumped-up tax evasion charges following his harsh critique of the government’s handling of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. Since his release from jail, he has been barred from leaving Beijing.
Crossing Borders is always vigilant about using the Chinese network to communicate. We assume China can listen in on our phone conversations and can look into most of our communications made over the Internet. Over the past 12 years, we have developed ways to secure our Internet connection and speak in code, among other things, to keep our communications secure. These measures and many more keep our North Korean refugees and workers on the ground safe so that our work can continue.
Stay tuned for more facts about China.