Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Revisiting the Great Firewall of China

I've previously blogged about the Great Firewall of China, and Chinese efforts to suppress information coming in to the country.

But any organizational effort to suppress information has its weaknesses, as Boing Boing notes:

[C]ensorship is not only easy to subvert, but sometimes it subverts itself. Each week, for example, Beijing's propaganda department updates a list of banned stories. Available to senior journalists at government-controlled news outlets, the list includes scandals, protests, and sackings across the country. Newspapers are not allowed to report on them, but some journalists post the lists online, telling you all you need to know.

The system is self-defeating in other ways as well: Twelve national government bodies share responsibility for the Internet, and all of them have separate political and commercial interests. In some cases, departmental budgets are financed through revenue from online businesses, so it's often in their interests to loosen restrictions. Furthermore, the Great Firewall is besieged by bureaucratic infighting and incompetence that results in exceptions and loopholes.

Unfortunately, parts of the firewall are pretty strong, as Shi Tao can attest.

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Anonymous said...

You can try http://www.proxychina.org to access blocked sites. It is a non profit organization supporting freedom of surf. Their servers are very fast and optimized for Chinese connections.