The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, predicts that Chinese leaders will eventually dismantle the ‘Great Firewall‘ on their own. Not because they’ll finally realize it’s oppressive or anything (he’s not delusional), but because it’s inhibiting economic growth. Reuters reports:
It was China, which the survey ranked at 57 out of 81, down from a ranking of 29 out of 61 last year, where Berners-Lee saw the greatest potential for improvement.
“The Berlin Wall tumbled down, the great firewall of China – I don’t think it will tumble down, I think it will be released,” he told Reuters by telephone.
“My hope is that bit-by-bit, quietly, website-by-website, it will start to be relaxed,” he said. “The agility of a country which allows full access to the web is just greater; it will be a stronger country economically as well.”
China’s state Web-censorship system blocks Facebook, Twitter and some foreign news sites as well as content that the Communist leadership considers damaging to stability and cohesion.
“The citizens are not really in a position to smash the great firewall because the government controls the Internet, the Internet companies,” said Berners-Lee, 58.
“All that can happen is that the government realises it is not in their interests, that it is holding up the economy, holding up the development of the country.”
Okay, so the predicted end of the Great Firewall may not match people’s romantic narrative of a Che Guevara-esque internet revolution, but we assume Chinese internet users will accept it nonetheless.