Protestor throws shoe at creator of the Great Firewall

JISHOU, HUNAN — Fang Binxing was lecturing at Wuhan University in Hubei (about eight hours from here) when a member of the audience throw two shoes and an egg at him. One shoe connected, it seems. Fang is the architect of China’s pervasive net-nanny system that controls what Chinese can see on the Internet, and what content is allowed on Chinese websites. It’s popularly called the Great Firewall of China. Needless to say, Fang is none too popular among Chinese Internet users. Predictably, tweets about the shoe attack were promptly blocked, as were web searches for the person documenting the prank. The BBC has a more complete report. In the interests of global understanding, perhaps George W. Bush can give Fang lessons on shoe-ducking.

The Great Firewall now blocks Facebook 4

JISHOU, HUNAN — Sometime in the last week, China’s Internet gatekeepers decided to block Facebook, thereby cutting off my students (and thousands of other Chinese users) from communicating with their Facebook pals. I can still use FB, but now I have to go through the Tor proxy network. Whatta pain. China’s net nannies have been on a campaign recently to lock down the Internet, obstensibly to shut off access to pornography, but coincidentally to limit access to sites critical of the government. Given the recent riots in Xinjiang between Muslim Uighurs and local Han (the ethnic majority in China), one can only guess why Facebook has been banned here. The media site, www.danwei.com, is now also blocked, too. Danwei’s writers are openly critical of Internet censorship in China, and provide links to news sites that are less biased than the official government sources. For example, if you believe CCTV-9, the international arm of the state TV media, everything is just peachy keen in Xinjiang, where more than 150 people were killed earlier this month and where the army is patrolling the streets to prevent more outbreaks of ethnic violence. CCTV-9 interviewed a Westerner who teaches at a university in Urumqi, ...

China continues its censorship of Web by blocking Google.com 3

[UPDATE June 25 15:56: Google.com is once again available in China, for now. I’m leaving this post up, though.] JISHOU, HUNAN — Sometime this evening, the Chinese net nannies blocked access to Google.com, part of the government’s ever continuing struggle to combat (officially) pornography and (unofficially) access to sites critical of the government. True to form, the state’s censors are using Google as a poster child to warn those who might want to buck the censors. CCTV, the state-run television, had a report earlier this week blaming Google for “providing ‘vulgar and unhealthy’ content.” The report featured an interview with a young man — later discovered to be a CCTV intern — who said his roommate had become addicted to porn thanks to Google’s help. State censors then blocked the intern’s name (Gao Ye 高也) from permissible searches at Google China, the Chinese (net nannied) version of Google.com. Google.cn apparently agreed last week to restrict access to porn, so we can still use it. But, the Great Firewall of China is now blocking the international site,Google.com, which joins youtube.com, blogger.com and blogspot.com on the no-no list. Experts suggest that the government’s anti-porn crusade is a smokescreen to block access to ...
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