Wednesday, March 19, 2008


My two frivolous, inoffensive little blogs, Froogville and Barstool Blues, have made it on to the Chinese government's 'hate list', it seems.

Yes, as of some time on the evening of Tuesday, March 18th, I have been "harmonized" (as they like to put it in the local jargon). While most of Blogspot remains available, my blogs can no longer be reached from China - not even via Anonymouse. Gosh, that makes me feel special.

In fact, I am currently so 'special' that at around midnight last night my home Internet link was cut completely. That doesn't seem to have happened to any other laowai I know, so the Kafka Boys must really have decided that I am an ultra-bad dude.

Fortunately, they seem to have blocked me on the basis of my IP address rather than my Internet account - and, ta-daaaa, I happen to have a second computer, which is still able to get me online. Unfortunately, it is a truly ancient Vaio which is so SLOW that it barely functions with the modern Internet. And if the Kafka Boys really dislike me that much, I'm sure they'll soon notice this oversight, and block my home access completely. [By the way, does anyone happen to know how to change a laptop's IP address?]

Oh well, I have long been meaning to treat myself to a new computer anyway. And I have some 'Anonymizer' gizmos that supposedly beat all of the less drastic blocking techniques. And - if I can't get my home connection restored by yelling at the Internet provider on the phone all morning (that is my plan - I think it'll make me feel better, even if it doesn't produce any more concrete results) - perhaps I'll finally become a wi-fi fan and spend my days trying to get my work done in bars and caf├ęs.

If I'd thought the authorities here would ever get this medieval on my arse, well, I would have liked to have done more to deserve it.

Yes, I have made fun of the Chinese government's propaganda-speak on occasion. I have made one or two indelicate references to Taiwan. And a couple of days ago, I was rash enough to mention a few China-based blogs I like to read that had already suffered "harmonization". I have also used my Blogger ID to comment in a few other places (notably on my friend J's excellent Chinese history blog, Jottings From The Granite Studio) on the current troubles - I wonder if that's what really got me into trouble.

On the whole, though, I'm really not a very political blogger: literature, cinema, music and humour (and love and regret and the consolation of a good beverage) are my main writing interests. I don't talk about China all that often, and I hardly ever mention current events. In particular, I had carefully avoided making any overt references on my own blogs to the Tibetan riots. And I certainly wasn't about to go posting any photographs or film clips of the events.

Now...... I wish I'd been more courageous, more outspoken.

Perhaps I will be from now on. After all, you might as well be hanged for a sheep as...... well, hanged for nothing at all.

And you can't imagine how pissed off I am at this sort of censorship. Losing my blogs is painful enough (I have become a bit of a junkie for them, I admit); but to lose my Internet connection - that disrupts, paralyses my social life, destroys much of my livelihood, cuts my only link to my family back home.

"Of course, you realise this means WAR?"


Anonymous said...

Nice choice of words... "W A r" should do it.

Heres hoping you find a way around it all.

Anonymous said...

My husband says he knows how to change the IP address on a laptop. However, he is busy shooting people on his video games, so I'll have to research the subject for you later.

Censorship sucks.

"You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. Yet in their hearts there is unspoken - unspeakable! - fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts! Words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home, all the more powerful because they are forbidden. These terrify them. A little mouse - a little tiny mouse! -of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic." - Winston Churchill

Anonymous said...'re back! Thanks for all of the great comments you've left over at the site. Really good stuff.


Froog said...

I was never really 'away'. China's censors represent a curious combination of vindictiveness and stupidity. I mean, there's a whole bunch of links in the sidebar there about how to evade Net censorship using proxy devices - did they really think they could stop me?

Do they really think they can stop anyone??

Anonymous said...

Dictators are like turds - they are a fact of life; they have no discernible intelligence; they keep popping out; they are a damned nuisance (and a source of potentially life-threatening problems) while they are hanging around but, ultimately, in civilised societies everybody gets fed up with them and decides to build a sewerage system...

Keep flushing, Froog.

Froog said...

Or did you just mean, J, that I'm 'visible' on the regular Firefox browser bypass again?

H told me that she could get the blogs again that way on Thursday, so maybe the bastards have decided to give me a break. Not convinced there is any 'decision' about it, though; the blocking seems to be even more all-over-the-place than usual this week.

I think I will nominate The Random Glitches as my band name of the week.

argonox said...

I don't mean to burst your bubble, but I still have no problem reading your blog in my Google reader or using my trusty proxy, Kallahar's Place.

But I won't stop you if you still want to continue with your war.

If you Google "change IP address," you get about a bajillion entries; it seems like it'd be pretty feasible, even for the non-geek, if you haven't already been able to take care of it.

Froog said...

Yes, that's what I've been relying on for the past couple of days, Leah. I'm sure "they" could block those routes as well if they put their mind to it, but it just doesn't seem to be on their radar somehow.

I have been waiting for one of my geek friends to give me some simple and intelligible advice on computer 'cloaking' - rather than try to wade through a bajillion overlong, confusing, inaccurate - or simply blocked - Google returns.

I can find my way around the Internet when I choose - but I just don't have the f***ing time or inclination.

Might get around to it soon, if the censorship regime continues so extreme.

I know this computer geek guy who is talking about setting up a low-cost VPN (subscription in beers, I hope) for friends in China. Perhaps that could be the answer.

Froog said...

By the way, Leah, I confess I did get so paranoid this week that I did deliberately refrain from pointing out on this site the usefulness of Kallahar's or the fact that Blogger was still unblocked, just in case any PSB monitors might actually be reading this. Probably an unfounded fear, I know - but we did seem for a while to be entering 'You can't be too careful' territory.