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NYT in China Blocked and Unblocked

Last week, I posted about China  re-blocking several of the sites temporarily accessible during the Olympics. During this re-censorship spree, the New York Times website was blocked for mainland Chinese users, but only for three days. This morning it was finally free again. When pressed for comment about the ostensible arbitrariness of this action, Chinese authorities played dumb. Such highly visible waffling can only be counter-productive to the censorship regime. The average Chinese internet citizen must know what he or she is missing, had temporarily and could have again. A porous Chinese firewall (and the more users, the more porous it will become) is destined to fail.

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One Response to “NYT in China Blocked and Unblocked”

  1. Bryan Says:

    The problem here is one of assumption. You write that “the average Chinese internet citizen must know what he or she is missing.” You are thereby implying that by knowing their internet is filtered, the average Chinese “internet citizen” will make demands for more openness. That is, you are applying an American point of view onto the Chinese web user. I certainly accept that an American will want more, more, king-size, but many Chinese are happy that their government protects them from things on the internet.

    Again, I only have my personal experience in China (hardly a representative sample). I asked several people if they could see every web page. They acknowledged that no, they couldn’t. When I asked them if they wanted to see more the answer was invariably, “yes, I would like to see everything–but my government knows better than me.” When I talked to people about the correct role of government the typical Chinese answer was, “The government should work to preserve harmony.” The eastern world simply has different ideals on the subject of individual verse society. This chafes against our western point of view, against being the lone cowboy. But you might have to accept that the “average Chinese internet citizen” actively likes the control imposed upon him for the greater good.