24
Nov
08

Chinese Bloggers Gaining Upper Hand on Government Blackout

The Sydney Morning Herald gives a quick profile of the new technological capabilities allowing bloggers in China to sidestep government restrictions of the internet.

Highlights from the article:

Isaac Mao, 36, of Shanghai, credited as China’s first blogger, began using the term Great Firewall in 2005 to describe the frustrating structure of internet blocks and filters imposed by a government determined to move its censor-ship system into the digital age, and keep the world out. He was a pioneer in using proxy server technology to access overseas websites.

[…]

The number of bloggers in China doubled to 107 million in the six months to last June, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. Total users rose 56 per cent from the previous year, to 253 million, giving China the largest online population in the world.

Mr Mao says he can see a tipping point coming. He believes that as a result of blogging, young Chinese brainwashed by their education system are now trying to think for themselves, work together and find smarter solutions.

“The reason many people still don’t care about political change is that they don’t trust each other. It’s the legacy of the Cul-tural Revolution. So they don’t talk to their neighbours about community issues, they don’t talk about urban issues.”

But people are now trusting and sharing online, not always in public, but through social networking, which he says is difficult for the authorities to track. “The tipping point is everyone being able to talk about sensitive things, and wanting to talk about it, and nobody being punished.”

[…]

An editor at one of the new, independent magazines trying to push journalistic boundaries said that if privately owned media were the foot soldiers in the march towards free speech, bloggers were guerillas – and the Chinese Government did not know how to fight a guerilla war.

While China understands the opening of its culture is necessary for economic development, it is still attempting to breed a society intensely fearful of government. As the number of blogs increases, Chinese citizens will gain the confidence needed to end their self-censorship and begin to challenge their weakened Big Brother.

But, like I says: progress is unstoppable and I solute all the bloggers in China giving the middle finger to THE MAN. Keep it up!

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