Risky blogging in Beijing

Bruce Einhorn

A few weeks ago I interviewed a Chinese blogger who said that, despite all the concern in the U.S. about Internet censorship in China and the role that American companies play in patrolling the Net, blogging from the Chinese capital wasn't that hard. “Living in China, I haven’t had a problem,” he told me when I spoke with him on the phone. This blogger (who didn’t want me to mention his name) said that he and others could pretty easily find holes in the Chinese firewall. “People who want to go and look for a blocked website do have a way to go around it,” he said. With the exception of Falun Gong material and some Taiwanese sites, most taboo sites were accessible with a bit of effort. “If people do want to go around the Chinese firewall, they’re able to,” he said. “There are enough people on the Web who know how to do it. There’s always some work-around.”

Unfortunately, there’s always some risk, too. Today I received an email from one of his friends. “Just heard that no one has been able to reach [him] since last Wednesday and on Friday all of his computer equipment was taken from his apartment in Beijing.”

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