China is closing down access to various internet services as they approach they anniversary of the Tiananmen Square democracy protests in 1989. The early report from TechCrunch says that Twitter, Flickr, Bing, Live, Hotmail, Blogger have all been made hard to access via the “Great Firewall” filters. I did notice when in China last year that there are various programs like ‘Great Ladder” that allow people to bypass these filters, but obviously not many are going to have the combination of nerve and savvy to do this.
I believe that China’s censorship policies are probably counterproductive *even to the Chinese Government’s goals* in the long term, and I’d sure like to find a way for the internet community to make this clear to China’s leaders. Ironically China’s leadership has done a remarkable job transitioning away from the bulky, centralized, bureaucratic economy that had been stifling progress for decades. China’s citizens now enjoy a higher level of prosperity and *economic* freedom than they arguably have ever had in history. Much of this prosperity is the result of producing goods for the US market. What exactly does the government think will happen if they allow more open dialog in China? I’d suggest they’ll find this would tend to reduce the tensions created by unhappy citizens rather than increase them. Suppression of dissent in Tibet routinely brings international scorn to China, where a more open dialog will bring praise, respect, and support.
China needs to realize that the world’s fascination and respect for China’s culture and international influence will be enhanced by free speech, not reduced.
TechCrunch UK is reporting on this and I’m looking for more direct information now.
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