China As It Is

To be free or not to be free

If not for the fact that I actually lived in China for some time, I would have no idea what censorship is like in China.

I was writing a Chinese blog in a major Taiwan blog community before I moved to live in China in January this year. To my dismay, I was not able to access my blog from China, and subsequently had to discontinue my blogging. All this was just the beginning.

Later, I found that I was not able even to access YAHOO Hong Kong. And naturally, I was not able to access online Hong Kong Chinese newspapers such as my favourite newspaper Mingpao. Nor was I able to access the online RTHK – Hong Kong’s equivalent of BBC in the UK. I was effectively being cut off from the Hong Kong media. (The reason that Hong Kong media is censored is that it has more in-dept and critical coverage of China than the state-controlled media on the Mainland China)

As a result, I started subscribing to Hong Kong’s English newspaper South China Morning Post in order to read some Hong Kong news. The censors in China don’t care online content in English. But if it is in Chinese, it will be monitored closely and in a very sophiscated way.

Coming to email, I had problem too. I could not access hotmail and gmail, but was fortunately able to access yahoo email through the English Yahoo page. Imagine I used hotmail and gmail and what a disaster it would be. Until now I am not sure why only Yahoo mail worked. Is it because yahoo has a better relationship with the Chinese government?

It must be stressed that each Chinese city has its own definition of extent of censorship. My experience refers to Hangzhou where I lived. In other cities, a different set of censored websites exist. It is a sophiscated and unpredictable system, isn’t it?

Now that I am no longer residing in China, it just feels so good to be free again.

By Anna

With a wanderlust and lusts of other sorts, I look to sth new, sth different, sth fulfilling, and find myself on a journey...

3 replies on “To be free or not to be free”

my blog at that time was hosted in a taiwan blogging site. It was pure fact that it was blocked and I cldn’t access to it. I remember I had to ask my sister in Hong Kong to check messages and number of hits of my blog. Of course you can view my blog from china, because this blog is in English. It is the Chinese content that the government is concerned about.

Now I see your blog in China without any proxy ,It is right!
U can use the proxy access your blog, for example—
If you can read the Chinese below, I can tell you more!

I’ve had a Hotmail account ever since I’ve been in China (now in my 5th year) and started a new one when the old one was starting to get creaky. I also have a gmail account which I started earlier this year when MSN wasn’t working. However, I’ve had no major problems in Beijing, southern Jiangsu Province, or now here in Fuzhou. Well, for the most part. The system can sometimes be a little bumpy, though, which can be extremely irritating.

I must confess that right now it’s being quirky. I can see my blog, but can’t edit it, and I can’t get onto my new Hotmail address. On the other hand, the old one’s working. What’s the deal with that?

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