China Splinternet, Is it a State-Controlled Alternative Cyberspace?

The question of what is Splinternet? is answered when seeing how the Chinese are creating their own type of internet, as in expanding their network to have one called “splinternet,” which will determine alternative cyberspace where multiple developing countries are likely to sign up. 

Learn how geopolitics are driving countries like China away from the internet to the splinternet.

The Splinternet definition translates to cyber-balkanization, describing segregation of the Internet into smaller groups with comparable interests, to a extent that they offer a intolerant system to outsiders or those with contradictory views 

The term refers to the platform where the customers’ addresses typically used on the open internet can direct you to different sites and places that can be blocked entirely. 

Therefore, the Splinternet concept is the globally connected open internet that we all utilize, which fragments into a group of fragmented networks owned by governments or corporations. 

China Splinternet 

These separate networks might employ the same protocols and names as the global Internet, but the knowledge the customers earn from each internet is what the government or company wants them to visit. 

This concept is already taking place as China’s splinternet is used by more than a billion people. The most notable example is China’s “Great Firewall.” That is to say that while visiting the country and going online, the customer is not on the global Internet. 

The customers are considered to be on the Chinese government’s so-called “safe” version, as in the customers can see what the government wants them to see and use what services they want them to use. 

It is worth mentioning that the ruling Communist Party is tightening political control over China’s internet giants and tapping their wealth to pay for its ambitions to reduce reliance on U.S. and European technology. 

In addition, any country signing up to China’s splinternet would almost definitely expose its people to the same levels of state control. For some, that would be taken as a byproduct of China’s technological patronage, as Beijing offers free Internet to Africa. 

It would be accepted as a chance to dominate their people to others.  

It would, as a result, honor the start of a new cold war-style split, not between east and west, but between an open and free internet and one employed to exploit and oppress. 

Splinternet in China has a different result than the open Internet by having the below happen: 

  • – Blocked; you can’t reach there. 
  • – You should reach the English Wikipedia, but rather, you see what looks like a version of Wikipedia in a different language. At the same time, you aren’t sure if it is the actual Wikipedia. 
  • – You wind up not on Google but some other search engine, searching only for the government. 

China took several restrictions regarding app restrictions, including banning encrypted messaging apps such as signal. 

In parallel, Chinese government took measures against companies including internet giants Alibaba and Tencent were fined in July 2021, by anti-monopoly regulators in a new move to tighten control over their fast-developing industries. 

Impact of Russian Ukrain War on Splinternet 

Also, the Russian government noted they want to pursue China’s model, assembling their own “sovereign” version of the Internet. They failed to do so because the global Internet has had numerous ties to Russian networks.  

Things are changing, especially after the Russian assault on Ukraine, where voices demand to disconnect Russia from the Internet.  

The Russian government will take this opportunity to try to create the state-controlled “RussiaOnline” they have wanted all along. 


This type of Internet can diminish the presence of the Internet as we know it by splitting the globally connected Internet, which allows us to communicate, connect, collaborate, and create. 

The Internet has become the backbone of the world economy and our lives and is also considered a lifeline for so many. 

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