Always Good News

When I was making that last post and wanted to find a picture to illustrate the travel troubles many Chinese have faced this holiday-season, I went to Google News. I typed in “Chinese New Year Travel,” clicked enter, and got a “failure to load” message. I tried again… same thing. So, I signed on to our VPN (something that helps us get unfiltered internet here), and tried a third time — voila! Hundreds of stories about the travel problems encountered by millions of Chinese this year.

This is the result of internet filtering. We face it a lot. We can’t access our own blog (or any blog) here without going through the VPN. (I’m making this post via the VPN.) You can’t get on, and you can’t use Wikipedia. Sometimes we can’t even get our email. When you try to visit a blocked site, you don’t get an official-looking message that says “This Website Has Been Blocked By Web Filters;” instead it is simply that very normal page you get when you type a website address wrong and you find out the page doesn’t exist. It is very subtle, but the control on information here is very deep and powerful.

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