China has spent more than a decade building the Great Firewall, the digital barrier that prevents the country’s 600 million Internet users from reading what their government doesn’t want them to see online. As many as 50,000 government employees enforce the censorship of Web pages and search terms.
Greatfire.org, run by three dissidents with sharp computer skills and a penchant for secrecy, is giving people a way around the wall. The group has created three mirror websites, or duplicates of banned sites: the independent news outlet China Digital Times; a Chinese arm of Reuters; and Greatfire’s own site, Freeweibo.com, which collects and publishes posts deleted from China’s popular social media service Sina Weibo. Greatfire posts links to the mirror sites, maintains detailed, searchable databases of banned subjects and pages, and posts updates when the activists discover new ones.