Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blogging in China

If the Chinese government doesn't like your blog site, it might just be erased.
When Zhao Jing moved his blog to Microsoft's popular MSN Spaces site last summer, some users worried the Chinese government would block the entire service. The censors had blacklisted the last site where the young journalist had posted his spirited political essays, and he seemed unwilling to tone down his writing at the new address.

But Zhao, better known by the pen name Anti, told fellow bloggers not to worry. If the government objected to his blog, he predicted, Microsoft would "sell me out" and delete it rather than risk being blocked from computer screens across China.

He was right. Four and a half months after he began posting essays challenging the Communist Party's taboo against discussing politics, Zhao published an item protesting the purge of a popular newspaper's top editors. Officials called Microsoft to complain, and Microsoft quickly erased his blog. (WaPo)

However, the Chinese goverment can't control everything:
With as many as 16 million people in China writing blogs, the Internet has provided a platform for citizens to express their views, shattering the Communist Party's monopoly on the media. The state still controls newspaper, magazine and book publishing, but the proliferation of sites that let users publish and even broadcast audio and video online have undermined the party's ability to restrict who can address the public and attract an audience.

Many have used the Internet to produce essays, books and even underground films that question the party's authority. But surveys show most Internet users are members of the urban elite who are benefiting from China's booming economy and have avoided writing about politics. As a result, people using the Internet to pursue change often encounter resistance, both from those hostile to their views and from others who sympathize but worry that pushing too hard could imperil the freedoms already gained on the Web. The article describes how Zhao grew his blog and gained readership.

The article goes on to describe how Zhao grew his blog, gained readership, ran afoul of the government, and stirred up a controversy with other Chinese bloggers. Zhao also accused Microsoft of being part of the problem. Read the whole article.

Shame on you, Bill Gates!
How Beijing censors the blogosphere

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