Sunday, June 7, 2009

Anger at the Virtual Wall

In the last few days, due to the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen, several Chinese websites have been inaccessible due to "maintenance".

A knock-off of Twitter called, a downloading site called, and and, similar to Facebook, all have a message saying they are "undergoing maintenance" and they should be back up by now.

What's interesting though is that young people have been very angry, not being able to access their favourite sites.

"F*** you GFW!" is what one says, referring to the Great Firewall, the nickname for the complex, high-tech system that blocks many sites, usually western ones from being shown in China.

Usually the majority of Chinese don't care about blocked sites, as most don't read English-language ones.

But now it affected them directly and they were very annoyed.

Now they are beginning to understand what us foreigners living in China go through on a DAILY basis.

Since March YouTube has been practically inaccessible; Blogspot since mid-May, and Twitter since last Tuesday. You can use a proxy server, but that can be slow and tedious.

Perhaps these Chinese web users will realize how pervasive the GFW is and greater numbers will try to find other ways around the system and virtually try to bring it down.

Or maybe that's hopeful thinking.

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