Monday, 9 August 2004

blahg blahg blahg

yes, it is true, and it has been true for quite some time. it's a pity no-one thought of mentioning it... loudly and persistantly. or am i being naive? 'mention what?' you wonder. well, that's the point. you wouldn't know. because it's not there. it's not there, because it was mentioned, and when it's mentioned, it's not there anymore, or maybe never wasn't.

imagine living in china and you have no way of knowing what you're allowed to see, because you don't see it and nobody speaks about not seeing it, because they don't know.

ok, sorry. that was the paragraph intended to be the transition to the bit where i start making sense. it should've been clearer. but it wasn't, was it? how would you know? maybe it's not there anymore and you never saw it. because it's been removed - the paragraph i was talking about. and i decided to remove it. maybe there were two paragraphs, and somebody else removed the other one. i could tell you about it, but then maybe that would be removed too. so you would never know.

let's try again.

as you probably saw in cerebus's previous post, the 'technical difficulties' they were experiencing with the blog in... am i allowed to say it(?)... c-h-i-n-a ... wasn't as technical as we thought after all. (except for the odd bit of employing a few geeks to ensure the big fat data pipe swallows the thousands of websites that end with blogspot.com). the chinese government has blocked content of all the big (international) blog portals - this means while bloggers in china can access and post to these blogs from the nuts and bolts/ administrator angle, the actual blog as you see it here is not accessible. at all. in the whole country. or any other blog related to blogspot et al. that's pretty scary.

but don't think this is a scoop. no breaking news - i'm just a new blogger. the blocking of blogging was apparently started in january 2003(!) and is common knowledge, if you can find it. while the odd blog or group might cry "sies!" every now and again, it is dealt with in much the same way most embarrasing issues on china (the trading partner of choice for almost everyone and probably a few martians too) are dealt with: the slightly perplexed white house dog look, the pursing of the mouth while shrugging shoulders and saying “eurgh.”

the sad thing is... that's what we do. and what i will probably do too. bitch about it a bit. yap yap yap, bring it into social conversations in some indignant tone. because... activism and all that stuff… it’s just so cold war. too much fingerpaint, no hot water, the chanting, ricoffy with skinheads. oh, of course, there's email chainletters, as if they have ever contributed to anything worthwhile.

and it’s china! for gods sakes, I want to go there at the end of the year to visit cerebus and simon and buy some cheap dvd’s and cheap knock-off's of branded goods. no use getting blacklisted over such trifle little things like access to information of 1.4 billion people, now is there? and did i mention: it’s china! where the hell do you start? who do you speak to? which windows do you throw the stones at? and i'll say it again: who cares?

if you're interested in further reading:
[a] the definitive article on blogs in china from salon.com: Little Red Blogs. a few tidbits: 80 million internet users in china at december 2003, and… wait for it: 30,000 techies monitoring internet traffic! the article’s got… wossisname… perspective and context. and I do love context.

[b] even a phrase search on google for "china bans blogs" returned results

[c] a Wired article on google, china and big business: Google vs. Evil

[d] the contribution of samizdata, a blog

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