Great Firewall of China

Chinese Facebook
Chinese language version of Facebook

A little more than a week after the launch of the simplified Chinese Facebook site, users all across China, including yours truly, are reporting that they are unable to access Facebook. Having had to endure the Great Firewall of China for over five years now, I am quite familiar with the slight of DNS error technique that can be observed in the status messages at the bottom of the Firefox browser when attempting to access the typical blocked site, and the phenomenon is definitely observable when attempting to access Facebook. The interesting thing is that I have seen similar errors on and off for the past couple of months. Usually just closing the instance of the browser and opening a new one will fix it, but not today. This time it appears it may be for keeps. Or not. It is never a simple task to attempt to predict how the censor goons will behave.

I suppose I should question why it would really bother me so much that Facebook is blocked. I am actually surprised at how accustomed I have become to the social network, to the point that I would definitely feel deprived if I was unable to access it. Compare this with my first social networking site, Tribe, that I have pretty much abandoned after spending hours a day every day for months on end. What is it I wonder? I believe the difference is that a good number of my friends on Facebook are my real flesh and blood friends, rather than mere Internet-only “friends”, although I have a fair number of those as well. Somehow, I enjoy the news feed that keeps me updated on the goings on of my circle of friends, without having to actually meet them and and talk to them to find these things out. Is this progress? I wonder. Certainly the amount of “flesh time” I spend with most of my Facebook friends is relatively low, so, is it right that I am so up to date on their goings on? Well, actually, I rarely follow the stories in the news feed, but I do find it far more interesting than the news offered by, say, CNN, and, in fact, many of the most interesting stories I find on the Internet these days are from links posted by friends on Facebook.

Facebook is many things to many people. To me, it sometimes seems like little more than the ultimate stalking utility. Yet, I have exchanged some of the most meaningful philosophical conversations of my life here as well, although, Tribe is really hard to beat on that front. So, the bottom line is… Why block it? Is it really that subversive? Who knows? I just hope that like Wikipedia, the blockages will come and go. But mostly go. Facebook through a proxy is tedious in the extreme. Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

YouTube blocked in China

I’m surprised, yet not surprised that I missed this. Since October 18th, YouTube has been banned in China, joining the list of other staple sites enjoyed throughout the Western world that have been found to influence Chinese citizens in a manner deemed contrary to “supporting a harmonious society”.

Actually, I rarely use YouTube anymore, partially because I simply haven’t had the time nor inclination, but also because since it was bought up by Google, much of the content I was interested in has vanished. Of course, much of the content that I’m interested in is probably the kind of stuff most governments in the world would rather not have too many people see, but at least in the US, fringe-level conspiracy stuff (however factually-based it may be) is no threat due to the perceived lack of credibility of the sources, especially compared with the clout enjoyed by the media giants, who of course have all of our best interests in their hearts, as is easily discerned from their fair and un-biased coverage of the truly important things that matter. The governing forces (if not the government) are mostly content to let the “market” decide on whom to believe - pretty easy to manage when most of the media is controlled by the very same crooks/banking interests who took overt control of the government when they established the illegal Federal Reserve Bank.

So, it will be disappointing that I can’t use the YouTube servers to store my family videos anymore, but, alas, I’ll survive. Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

A couple of months after access to Wikipedia was miraculously granted, we are Wikiless once more behind the Great Firewall of China. Every time this happens, I just have to ask myself, “Why? What is the point of all this?”

Well, obviously, the point is that if you control the flow of information, you can better predict and manage the behavior of the population. The population does seem to provide plenty of corroborating evidence to support the fact they do indeed benefit on the whole from management. Telling everyone how to behave, what to believe, is easy. Inspirational stories abound. You just need to twist the tales at the end to support whatever cause you are pushing, and the masses will fall for it hook, line and sinker.

The next step is to eliminate anything else that doesn’t fit into the grand vision, because that would would add entropy to the system, which can only lead to instability. When faced with the task of governance, lets face it, simple is good. Tell people what you want them to hear. Block everything else. Harmony. It really is quite rationally thought out.

Unless, of course, you subscribe to the school of thought that people would be better off managing themselves. It does take a huge leap of faith in mankind to believe that individuals can actually make sound decisions on important issues that affect not only their lives, but the lives of everyone else in the community. To someone in power, it must even be somewhat frightening to know that if they can manage themselves, they might manage you away.

Its important to provide plenty of distractions, educating people toward the right decisions to be made, offering rewards for proper decision making, such as the nice house, the nice car, all of those neat gadgets, the respect and admiration of society. Prod decision making all day long by showing non-stop commercials everywhere, even in the elevators. Especially in the elevators. Everything front of mind, the brain is saturated with good decisions that have already been made, again and again, without the decision maker even being the slightest bit aware that nearly every decision throughout their day has already been made for them.

Except for those who do stop and question. Who resist the mold. Who like to make up their own minds.

If left with a choice, you, the governing power, can either give the free thinkers access to everything, or at least enough of the good stuff to allow them to believe they actually know the truth, and concentrate your efforts on snowballing the majority of the population so that no one will ever even think of listening to those kook balls who keep telling them the sky is falling (US model) or you can attempt to maintain a moral and just society by preventing people from accessing materials which might cause disharmony in society, while mass hypnotizing everyone with consumer hysteria (Chinese model).

I don’t know which is worse, but I do miss my Wikipedia. Reddit Slashdot Digg Facebook Technorati Google StumbleUpon Furl Yahoo Ask Mister Wong China Newsvine Simpy Spurl Wink Rawsugar Squidoo Fark

Next Page »