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Friday, September 28, 2007



Is there censorship in China? I can't really say but I have experienced filtration.

To quote Lonely Planet: '...Internet operations were already under scrutiny by the government and in the summer of 2001, 2,000 operations were closed and 6,000 suspended. Cafes that are allowed to operate have to use filters to strain out irregular content.'

I'm not sure how much this concerns local users. Most of the Chinese people I saw in internet cafes were playing games. Perhaps those who want access to politically sensitive material go elsewhere.

My personal experience was this. I could access the blogger Dashboard and blog creation pages to post my blogs. After I post the blog I get a page telling me, 'Your blog has been successfully uploaded. View blog.' This with a link. When I click this link the page never downloads. Apparently you are able to read my blog in Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and elsewhere but in China I can't read my own blog.

I had a similar problem with flickr. I had no trouble uploading my photos but viewing them was at best hit and miss. The pages download but the pictures almost always are represented by broken links. I made contact with another flickr user who lives in China. He put me onto an add-on program for Firefox which allows me to bypass the filter. It worked on my own computer. Most of the time the pictures showed up. The program was created in Iran where there are apparently similar problems. It didn't make any difference to blogger.

In Hangzhou I never solved the problem of connecting my own computer. I made use of a university computer instead. I installed Firefox on that computer and the add-on program. It helped a little but I still could not see most of my own photos on flickr.

One day someone sent me the name of a Tibetan Buddhist teacher who had escaped from Tibet when the Chinese invaded in 1959. I decided to do a search of his name 'Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche'. This led me to his homepage which downloaded successfully. When I went to Wikipedia and did a search of his name the page started to download. It was half way there when it disappeared and I got an almost blank page instead. I decided to try 'Dalai Lama'. The result was the same.

I'm not sure what happens using a personal computer from someone's home. I didn't have that opportunity. But from internet cafes and at the university I experienced filtration.

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