Olympic Village opened this week in Beijing. I’ve noticed a distinct correlation between that event and the number of visitors to this blog from China.
Today I read a very interesting article from Chinabounder (yes, he’s back!), and I thought I’d share this with you. I would like to know if other bloggers are experiencing an increase in Chinese traffic too. Here are some excerpts that apply to this discussion (emphasis mine).
China’s ‘Operation Golden Shield’ is a vast program employing between 30,000 and 70,000 operatives (estimates vary widely, but new recruits are added daily) whose sole purpose is to monitor and guide internet usage. One of the negative offshoots of this project is how eagerly Western corporations such as Cisco, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google (which has the hypocrisy to offer as its motto ‘Don’t Be Evil’) collude with China to provide the hardware and software that the government fashions into the shackles which imprison the country’s internet users.
China is currently planning to greatly increase its number of ‘virtual cops.’ They are a vast army of government spies who monitor, in real time, what people are doing online. If a user reads something that does not meet with official approval, he or she is blocked.
China amazingly denies it actually censors anything. For instance, China’s representative at a meeting of the Internet Governance Forum claimed that, “In China, we don’t have software blocking Internet sites. Sometimes we have trouble accessing them. But that’s a different problem.”
This is factually untrue. China now has the ability to block access to foreign websites at will. For instance, during the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meetings of 2001, sites such as CNN and the BBC, long blocked in China, were opened up. China was keen to show the visiting dignitaries how open its society was. But when those same international leaders had left, access to these sites was immediately blocked.
It is certain that exactly the same thing will happen in the 2008 Olympics. China will create the appearance of an open society for the two weeks of the games. But once they are over the gates will be slammed shut and the restrictions will be reimposed
So, now’s the time to blog on topics and issues that you’d like people in China to actually be able to read!