Wednesday, March 21, 2007

I Was Banned in the PRC

So the title is a little misleading. I'd love to think my pictures of Zhongshan Park were considered so incendiary, the government just had to single them out. But really, all of blogspot.com, and various other foreign-based blogging sites, have recently been added to the blacklist within China.

It's very mysterious how the process works, the Chinese government is opaque and it inevitably leads to guessing games. All I know is that Monday morning, without warning, suddenly blogspot.com sites no longer loaded. This is the third time China has blocked blogspot.com, the previous bans were lifted after a few months.

China maintains a system of hard bans and soft bans. For instance, this blog gets a soft ban, and still can be accessed via Anonymouse - even better is using Mozilla's Anonymouse Plug-In. Many other American sites, say English Wikipedia, are similarly blocked.

I can only speculate about the reasons for the convoluted system - my theory is, it's so foreigners and people who really want to see these sites can see them without too much difficulty - but also, it prevents these sites from getting too popular with the average Chinese person, who isn't familiar with proxy services, or just doesn't want to bother. This way, the most popular Chinese blogs are under Chinese jurisdiction.

There's also a number of web sites that get a hard ban, where even proxies don't allow it to load. That includes sites relating to the Falun Gong cult, pornography sites, or Chinese Language Wikipedia.

Simultaneously showing that the whole censorship nonsense really has nothing to do with fighting crime, and that China just doesn't care about intellectual property rights, popular Piracy Sites are operated within China, and don't recieve any sort of ban. Edit 3/28/6 - Just today blogspot was unblocked, although the status of Wikipedia and the other sites mentioned in this post remains unchanged.

Further update 3/30/6 - blogspot has been re-blocked, crazy!

6 comments:

Stephen said...

I would have to agree with you. It's interesting that 'blogspot.com' is banned, but that you can still get onto 'blogger.com' to publish your blog. That still doesn't make sense to me -why ban the blogs if you can still publish them?

Jeff Rutsch said...

I think the intent isn't so much to keep anyone in China from accessing these blogs, but to keep foreign-hosted blogging sites from becoming too popular. The government has the option of "hard blocking" blogspot, but they don't.

Making it a soft block achieves the same goal, while not pissing off foreigners too much.

Of course that's just my entirely un-informed guess, as nobody knows who ordered the ban, why they ordered the ban, on what authority they ordered the ban, or for how long they will order the ban. It's what passes for politics over here.

J. said...

The only reason your blog did not get banned is because you described Falun Gong as a cult and thats okay in their suppressive criteria. Want to try something interesting? What would happen If i gave you an article to post about how great FAlun Gong is? Or an article from the 3 media associated with Falun Gong? let me know if you wish to try it?

Just so you understand Falun Gong is not a cult. Only the communist regime has problem with Falun Gong none of the other 69 countries in the world has any problem with FAlun Gong. That in it self speaks volumes doesn't it?

Jeff Rutsch said...

I resent the insinuation that I'm toeing some Communist Party line in order to avoid being censored, kind of wacky in a post where I whine about how the stupid Chinese government is censoring me.

Mostly I described Falun Gong as a cult because when I lived in Oakland, the Falun Gong people seemed like a bunch of total nuts, doing weird things in public places that everybody ignored, and passionately pushing their fringe religion. And of course very new religions have a difficult time gaining acceptance. It's hardly a nuanced opinion, and I'm a dedicated religious sceptic anyway, but that's what I believe.

My gut reaction is to oppose the Chinese policy towards Falun Gong, but really I know almost nothing about it. There's plenty places to learn about Falun Gong's history, this blog isn't one of them.

Jeff Rutsch said...

Oh, one more thing. Not at all to minimize the Chinese censorship of the Internet - but an English site making a positive reference to Falun Gong isn't enough to get a "hard ban." Msnbc.com, or nytimes.com, for instance, will have the occasional, generally sympathetic article about Falun Gong, and don't recieve any form of ban - as do some China-based English-language blogs.

J. said...

Jeff,

I was not insinuating that you were toeing some CCp line because i can see that you are questioning the CCp logic in their suppression and bans. But anyone who calls the Falun Gong a xxxx even in ignorance has become a mouthpiece for spreading the CCp's propaganda about FG .


You have chosen atheism as your belief so I wont try and change your mind.Does Can you see the difference between Good and evil? Becasue we see this persecution as a battle between Good and evil its as simple as that.

Falun Gong's whose aspiration is to become better people by embracing the characteristics of the universe - Truth compassion and Forbearance.

Its not a religion but a genuine cultivation practice that will guide you to being a better person. And hey can we honestly say the world doesn't need better people?


Please do some more checks on genuine sites about FG so that you don't cause yourself any more harm by aligning yourself with an evil regime.

Try this site

http://www.clearwisdom.net/emh/index.html

The world needs Truth Compassion and Forbearance.