Chips in the Great Firewall

Mice starting to win in the Beijing blogosphere:

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.

But while Western attention focuses on how much international content China still blocks, Mr Mao is excited by what has recently happened. His verdict: blogging has given Chinese people nerve.

“Two years ago nobody would have believed this was true,” Mr Mao says. But “as more and more social problems have emerged in China, people have had the chance to connect and share things that could not be seen before. Once there are enough bloggers nothing can be hidden.”

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.


While bloggers continue to be blocked and jailed, Mr Mao says this is failing to deter them. The sheer number of Chinese now blogging about minor matters, “puts the burden on the Government to try to check and monitor so much content. They can’t tell what is sensitive”. He thinks freedom of expression is as much about simple daily stories as it is about topics such as Tibet.

Read the whole article.  Appreciate the irony of this information freedom fighter’s family name.  And remember that there is freedom in information.

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