Monday, February 20, 2006

A Million Tiny Holes in the Chinese Firewall

The Washington Post has published a wonderful article on the Chinese government's failing attempt at Internet censorship. The overwhelming impression of the article is that, try as they might, the Chinese government is not going to be able to effectively censor information on the Internet. There are so many channels of information that the Chinese censors are flailing.

The article is consistent with other information I have heard on the same subject. Following my earlier post about Microsoft's role in facilitating Chinese censorship, I was contacted by a very prominent technology expert who has traveled to China and follows the issue of Chinese censorship quite closely. In a long telephone conversation, his short summary was that the Chinese information network is very sophisticated and that information flows are extraordinarily complicated. The tools of the trade are legion, and include word of mouth, physical transmission of data, aviation information couriers, the Internet, text messaging, emails, and instant messaging. Then he said something quite interesting: the Chinese government censors know they have lost the battle. But they are easing toward a transition of freedom of information. They censor newspapers, stop a blog here and there, shut down sites, reopen them, etc. It is all a cat-and-mouse attempt to encourage self-censorship.

But there are a million tiny holes in the Chinese firewall. With over 100 million Internet users in China, how can they stop it? It is only a matter of time before the wall breaks. And when the information firewall breaks, one can only imagine what true freedom of the press will wrought for politics in China.

Go read the article. It will leave you quite encouraged.


Blogger Seth Weinberger said...

This is another reason that, as I commented about on one of your earliest posts on this topic (
more-hazards-on-blogging-in-china.html)people shouldn't be so bent out of shape about this. Even if Google cooperates with Chinese officials, information will find its way through, which is exactly what we want to happen. Thus, better access to censored information than no access to information at all.

2/20/2006 10:24 AM  
Blogger asoke40 said...

I'm able to get past the firewall, I just can't get good speeds!
What's the deal with this filtering it's totally frustrating. I've tried everything, adding two providers even. They have come out and checked my equipment twice and inform me it's my router. That's not it, it works fine at 100Mb. I called my VPN service: and with or without their connection it's slow. At least connected I've bypassed the firewall.
I'm curious to know what speeds others are getting?
I'm in Shenzhen on China Telecom.

12/16/2006 2:59 AM  
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Blogger Eli said...

I use ibvpn to bypass censorship. and it worth.

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Blogger Dave80 said...

I`m using to bypass the Great Firewall. It`s extremely easy to use, you can turn it on or off with a click. Good stuff for living in China.

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