Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jumping the Great Firewall of China

It's been longer than a Kolkata traffic jam since I've posted, and for good reason. Three years ago when I visited China, the firewall was a mere formality. All you had to do was enter a proxy (basically entering the address of the intermediary server in another country before the address of the blocked site) and you could get around it. Now you have to download software, and even that, I found out two weeks ago, the government catches on to. You often hear people, myself included, say that when you go abroad (to poor countries) you realize how well you have it. When you go to China, you realize how valuable your freedom of speech is. The tightening of the internet is just another example of how China's government is one that controls the people, rather than being controlled by the people. Those in power have the the information, and they are restricting it to others in order to keep their positions. I've heard people rebut, "But they have so many people, and so many minorities, so they need to control everyone." However, India has a population on the order of the same magnitude, with different castes, tribes and minorities. Here you can criticize the government and not worry about being arrested. Here you can actually vote between multiple parties. Here creativity and social freedom isn't squelched but promoted. Anyway, before going any deeper into these India issues or any other of my Indian exploits, I've got a few things I'd like to share with you that track back to China. So bear with me and travel back in time two weeks ago.

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