Great Firewall of China Strikes Again!

3 Jun
Above: My friends, Maria and Andrew, at Tiananmen in 2006

Anticipating the 20th Anniversary of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising, the GFW (Great FireWall) of China has struck again! For those of you who have never heard of GFW, it’s a method by which the Chinese government censors out anything that they don’t approve of. For example, if you look up “Tiananmen Square” on Google in the U.S., you’d see a mix of photos, some of which include photos from the June 4, 1989 uprising. However, if you look up “Tiananmen Square” on Google in China, you see smiling pictures of tourists in front of Tiananmen and pictures of local restaurants. Big difference right?

This time, GFW is taking a ton of sites with it, including popular social networking sites, like Twitter, Xiaonei, Blogspot and Flickr.

To get a sense of just how many sites GFW is censoring, take a look at this Google Doc that includes an extensive list of sites that are currently being blocked in China. Check out the document here.

There have been a lot more stories that I wanted to aggregate here for you, as well:

Tiananmen Square, 20 Years Later (The New York Times)
China’s Forgotten Revolution (The New York Times)
Behind the Scenes: Tank Man of Tiananmen (Lens Blog, NYTimes)
China Blocks Twitter (And Almost Everything Else) (Mashable)
To Shut off Tiananmen Talks, China Disrupts Sites (The New York Times)
In China, a New Breed of Dissidents (Wall Street Journal)
China Blocks, Twitter, Flickr, Others as Tiananmen Anniversary Looms (Fox News)
Tiananmen Square: Foreign Reporters Barred by China on Eve of Anniversary (Huffington Post)
1989 Tiananmen Square Protest (YouTube)
Tank Man Documentary (PBS)

I wish I could be in Tiananmen to check out what was going on right now. For anyone there, please comment below and tell us the latest news on what’s going on in Beijing!

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3 Responses to “Great Firewall of China Strikes Again!”

  1. Si June 5, 2009 at 5:49 pm #

    Hong Kong`s annual vigil went well this year.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/05/world/asia/05hong.html
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124412277897585101.html

    Do you know people in Hong Kong, including some teenagers, were angered by their cheif Donald Tsang`s comments about Comunist Party`s reaction against students 20 years ago? Coincidently, in Taiwan, some politicians criticized Ma Ying-jeou for his inconsistent attitude toward the movement this year. For some reason he did not address any speech or comment on Thursday. I recall that Ma has been the firmest supporter of patriotic students since long before.
    http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=967865&lang=eng_news

  2. Erica Swallow June 3, 2009 at 11:24 pm #

    Thanks, Harold! Great insights!

  3. Harold Li June 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    Just wanted to point out that the Google situation is not a result of the GFW, but rather Google's self-imposed censorship in order to comply with the Chinese government's demands/laws in order to continue to do business there.

    As for what is going on in Tiananmen right now – I'm pretty sure there's nothing going on except for a seriously increased security presence. The government has always made sure of that and clamped down on any discussion or mention of the incident, with tactics ranging from the increased censorship you describe to the detaining of dissidents and those related to the protests to even scheduling student exams on June 4. In a manner reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, the government has even asked people such as university administrators and taxi drivers to keep a lookout for suspicious behavior/individuals, as this article points out: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5520HD20090603?sp=true. The article also describes how the government shut down the square for the 10th anniversary for "repairs."

    If there's any place to be right now, it's probably Hong Kong – the only place where protests can be held on Chinese soil. There have been and will continue to be vigils and protests, as there have been every year. See: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124375851974469683.html

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