The Great Firewall of China


Yet another great wall was built by the Chinese government, but instead of aiming to protect their land from intruders, this time, the wall is aiming to restrict its people any access to foreign information. The Golden Shield Project does not only block contents of websites but also tracks down the user and monitors what he uses the Internet for.

Above is a typographical map containing the keywords and websites unavailable to people in China. The red texts, keywords unsearchable and/or forbidden access, form the shape of the country, while that in grey, the blocked websites, becomes the background.

The use of typography – art of arranging texts to form an image – is what caught my attention. Not just because it is what I’m trying to learn in graphic design right now, but the merge of typography and cartography puts maps into a whole new dimension as a tool for communication. A typical map would contain a digital picture of its subject, but in this case, the proverb “a picture is worth a thousand words” can be taken in a literal context because the image is really made up of thousand words.

With this map, the general public is made aware of the censorship going on in China. But it can also serve as a guide to the Chinese people on what are restricted from them since the map contains pretty much everything that is banned from their country (refer to this link for the complete list).

If I have to redo this map… no, actually I will not redo this map. The elements needed to make this map look reliable are present already, although, I might tweak its background just a bit. I would make the background gray and the websites white just so the red can be emphasized more and the image of China will be more evident.

One comment on “The Great Firewall of China

  1. : I commend your choice of the map, as it is a very interesting map. You could improve your essay more by contextualizing the map. You are right in noting that people will be made aware of censorship laws in place in China but it would leave a gaping question as to why such laws are existing. It would also be interesting to look at the perspective of the map maker, or find out the reasons why he made this kind of map.

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