Thirty years ago, China sent its first-ever email.
“Across the Great Wall, we can reach every corner of the world,” the Mail Administration of China wrote to researchers at Germany’s University of Karlsruhe at 9:07 p.m. Beijing time on Sept. 14, 1987.
But instead of bridging the wall, China has since built a new one, in cyberspace — the largest system of Internet censorship, control and surveillance in the world, nicknamed the Great Firewall of China.
Thirty years on, it is extending those controls even further.
Since passing its broad new Cybersecurity Law in June, the Communist Party has rolled out new regulations — and steps to enforce existing ones — that reflect its desire to control and exploit every inch of the digital world, experts say.
Today, the Great Firewall is being built not just around the country, to keep foreign ideas and uncomfortable truths out, but around every individual, computer and smartphone, in a society that has become the most digitally connected in the world.
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