Monday, September 24, 2007

China blocks my blog

Last night after updating my blog from Shenzhen, I clicked on ‘View Blog’ to check that it had uploaded okay, but all I got was an Internet Explorer error message. I checked a few other websites to make sure there was no problem with my Internet connection – and there wasn’t – but try as I might I couldn’t access my blog (I’d uploaded the post, and this one, by logging on through my Goggle account, and not via the blog). This morning I tried again, and kept getting the same error message for my blog. It seems that the sophisticated filtering systems that the Chinese government uses to block access to dissident websites were blocking mine.

What could I have said in my blog that could have upset the Chinese government? I’m certainly no dissident. I travel to China frequently, have many friends here, and I’m sure that in all my blogs I’ve said at least ten times as many good things about China as bad things. My guess is that my blog last week titled “Is Chinese food safe to eat” triggered something in the government’s Internet filters that labeled me as a ‘critic’. Actually it wasn’t a critical blog post at all. It only focused on the fact that the Chinese government has a big public relations challenge ahead of it in order to restore confidence around the world in the quality of Chinese produced foodstuffs, given all the tainted food scandals that it has had to deal with in the last three years.

They can’t be blocking my blog because the Chinese government doesn’t want its people to know about the food scandals – you can read all about those on any number of news and information websites like CNN or BBC – and those aren’t blocked. Therefore I can only assume that the filters for blogs are set to a higher sensitivity setting than for mainstream media sites.

Oh well, I suppose it shows that China still has a long way to go when it comes to freedom of speech (I expect that sentence will now cause my blog to be double blocked!)

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