Ng Han Guan/AP
Chinese lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan talks about his missing Internet blog postings at his office in
Beijing, Friday, Oct. 12, 2007.

Resourceful Chinese Bloggers Evade Government Censors

July 03, 2008 08:04 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Bloggers have devised new techniques, such as writing backward, to bypass government censorship and bring news and government criticism to the Internet.

30-Second Summary

China’s advanced Web censor, known as the “Great Firewall,” automatically tracks objectionable phrases. Writing backward is just one of several new methods that bloggers in China have invented to circumvent the censor and get their message out.

Prompting these innovations in evasive Web maneuvers is a drive to spread knowledge and criticism of the government and its policies. Most recently, bloggers sought to expose a weekend riot during which 30,000 people set government buildings on fire in China’s Guizhou province. According to The Washington Post, the riot was a response to a police determination that a high school student drowned; locals believed she was “raped and murdered, perhaps by children of local officials.”

“A reporter for a local newspaper in Guizhou said ‘It is everyone’s responsibility to get this information out, and I will try all means.’” reports The Wall Street Journal.

These days, those means include embedding code in search phrases to deceive filters and simply exploiting technical flaws.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government’s prosecution of dissent has been severe, in part because of the approaching Beijing Olympics. The Wall Street Journal reports that, so far this year, “there have been 24 cases of journalists, cyberdissidents or free-expression activists being arrested or sentenced to jail terms.”

But just how critical are Chinese bloggers of their government? A recent study found that, “at least in empirical terms, Chinese bloggers do live up to their reputation. Some 61% of Chinese blogs he studied carried criticism, while only 19% of Chinese newspapers did the same.”

Headline Links: Chinese bloggers tackle the ‘Great Firewall’

Background: Blogger arrests

Analysis: ‘Chinese Bloggers Really Are Edgy’

Related Topics: Human censors hunt down bloggers, too


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