Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Great FireWall of China

I had to spend about 3 weeks in China last December and, man, did I get really bored! I wasn't on a tour and my purpose there required me to spend most of that 3 weeks indoors. The place where i stayed had wifi so I thought maybe it wasn't so bad. I even told relatives and friends that I'd keep in touch through Facebook and Skype, but lo and behold, they were both blocked! I thought maybe I can just surf YouTube for videos to amuse myself but guess was also blocked! I kept my fingers crossed while trying to open YM. Imagine how happy I was when I was able to log in! Haha!

When I asked around, I learned that blocking social networks, video-sharing platforms, etc is part of China's internet censorship policy. The government wants to suppress anti-Chinese sentiments by banning sites that could be potent sources of certain types of 'negative' information. Talk about being overly paranoid and protective!

Truth is, China doesn't really mind these types of sites. In fact, they have their own versions of them. So I guess it's not really all about censorship but also about stamping out foreign competition in order for its home-grown services to prosper. It's the government's way of showing support for state-owned companies, and I must say it's something worth commending. No wonder China is rapidly emerging as an economic superpower.

The blocked sites are not totally inaccessible, though. One can use proxy sites to access them. After trying out several dozens of proxy sites, I was finally able to access Facebook (wasn't able to access YouTube and Skype :( ). I was a bit worried about being tracked down and caught. Good thing there aren't any ninjas or kung fu masters scaling the rooftops of Guangzhou to keep an eye on people's each and every move.

Oh...did you know that even this site is blocked in China? Haha!

Entry #7

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