Much has been said, on this site and others, about the recent spate of websites — even English ones — being blocked. Perhaps a more interesting question is what, if anything these blocks accomplish. Generally speaking, the Chinese government and supporters hold that the blocks contribute to national stability and security as well as helping maintain moral standards. Detractors might argue that the blocks are ineffective in stopping those dedicated to accessing “illegal” content, and that they undermine the legitimacy of the Chinese government by implying a promise of something (a completely censored, government-approved internet) that they arguably cannot achieve.
So what do you think? What, if anything does internet censorship do for the Chinese government? Is it worth the bad play they get in the international press every time a new site goes down, and futhermore, can it really ever be used as a tool to prevent unrest or will it always remain a step behind, with sites like Facebook being closed only after the damage is done?