Breaching China’s firewall

The world is becoming increasingly more open and transparent and this is presenting a massive challenge to repressive regimes.

Access to Twitter in China has been blocked after the Liberation Army Daily said it posed ‘hidden dangers’ to national security.

Twitter is only now available to those people who can penetrate the Chinese government’s firewall. However the authorities have given their blessing to a new China-based microblogging service which employs armies of censors – and it is growing rapidly, according to a piece in the current edition of The Economist.

Whether or not this opens up the Chinese authoritarian regime or contributes to a freeing up of Chinese society, we will have to see. I expect in the long term, it will be seen as one of those factors which caused a lessening of controls. But it is so difficult to use these tools and not be traced by the authorities in China. It makes you realise the value of our freedom in the West and what we take so much for granted some times. Getting in a huff over a tweet from Stephen Fry pales into insignificance when you consider that for truly brave and courageous social reformers in China, using these tools could be a matter of life and death.

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