I have been very lazy with my blog recently, I have no idea why. Sometimes I feel I want to add something to my page every day, other days I tell myself I will write on it later, but when later comes I'm too tired and can't seem to write anything coherent. Anyway, I have a few things I would like to talk about which I will hopefully publish over the next few days. Back on topic....
For those who don't know -- but you probably do -- China likes having control over its people, one part of this control comes from the censorship of information. There are very strict policies in place, anything that does not show a kind of loyalty to China doesn't belong here. I have heard of foreign newspapers simply having pages taken out of them before they are put on the shelves, books have paragraphs blacked out, and some websites are completely blocked.
When I arrived in China over a year and a half ago, I recall some of my favourite sites being blocked by "The Great Firewall of China": BBC News, Wikipedia, and Youtube. The reason for the censoring was simple: each of the websites are some of the most popular methods of information sharing, and somebody didn't want that information to find its way to China's internet users.
I don't recall the exact time when things changed, but it coincided with the upcoming Olympic games last year, let's say it was six months before. Stories were emerging of Journalists who were complaining that their sources of information would be blocked when they visit Beijing in the Summer. All of a sudden, somebody waved a magic wand, and overnight all of these websites suddenly became available. Even after the games the sites were still accessible, it looked like China had finally decided to open up a little more -- good.
Two days ago things changed again. Youtube was blocked. "There must be a reason for this" I thought. After a quick look at the -- still accessible (but for how long?) -- BBC page, the answer was this. Once again it comes down to Tibet. Just like my cancelled trip to Shanghai to see Oasis, it's Tibet that really hits China's nerve. Again, it's petty, just like a child who used to let you play with this toys, but now you can't use any because you briefly mentioned how he borrowed one of your toys a few weeks ago and didn't return it. He says it was always his toy, gets in a mood, and leaves you with the boring toys. It can only be a matter of time until people start to realise that this continual blocking of information is for a reason, and not a good reason at that.