Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Twiddling the knobs again

The boys down at Kafka Central have been surprisingly underemployed this month. In an instant of bored mischief they threw the 'Block Blogspot' switch again. I think it was probably the weekend before last. Most of us Blogspot bloggers in China entirely failed to notice at first, because we now all routinely use the alternate routing option on the Firefox browser (spread around the Chinese Internet a couple of months ago by Shanghai-based blogger, Yee), which is - thus far, fingers crossed, knock on wood - unknown to, or at any rate unmolested by those pesky Kafka Boys.

One must presume that this latest blocking of Blogspot pages was prompted by anxieties about the possibly 'subversive' effect of blog-based discussions of last Monday's 18th anniversary of the suppression of the 1989 student protests here. In general, the level of interference with normal operation of the Internet has been very low compared with the last few years I've been out here: e-mail providers seem to have been untouched (Gmail was down completely for a few weeks last year, and Yahoo Mail would go through periods of being very, very slow and/or occasionally suffering long delays in transmission), and Google searches on sensitive topics related to the protests are being allowed (you just can't follow any of the links!). However, Wikipedia pages relating to those events (with one possibly significant exception that I may return to in a later post) are all being blocked - even via Anonymouse. Moreover - somewhat inexplicably! - this year all searches on Amazon seem to be being blocked, not just those on TAM-related titles. Overall, then, an extremely patchy and haphazard censorship regime here in China - comme toujours.

More of a mild irritation than a major obstacle - although it may reduce Tulsa's contributions for a while, since she is apparently not able to use the Firefox dodge from work.

Does anyone else out there have fuller information on this latest Net crackdown??


omg said...

This post makes me very grateful to live where I live.

tulsa said...

ah, but it's not completely that the firefox dodge doesn't work for me during the day. (after all, it had spotty moments before, too). It's also that lately, I may as well bring my sleeping bag and a change of clothes to my "second" home. but, no, that would cut out my excuse for stopping at favorite cafes en route to the place where I occasionally sleep (fondly referred to as my original "home") and from where I am able to use the firefox dodge.