At today’s Berkman Center lunch, Rebecca MacKinnon is presently giving an excellent talk about the Internet in China and what’s been happening online in that country lately. While the government seems to be opening up a bit, things aren’t always what they might seem. Internet censorship is a small part of the picture. China employs different methods of control for sites outside and inside of the country. A “net nanny” keeps watch over the sites to which people have access through search engines and such.
Rebecca showed us some censored messages various blog services use to either block posts at the time of publication or after removing published posts. She is not naming the services that published certain posts other hosts blocked because she fears the government will retaliate against them.
Some bloggers circumvent censorship methods by using words that sound similar to censored words or by using images to represent ideas, like people doing pushups because discussion about an unfortunate suspicious death was banned.
How can the international Internet community reach out to China to help the government increase freedom and connect Internet users with good things the Great Firewall blocks?
Join the live webcast.
Some of you who have been reading the scratchpad for a while might remember that Rebecca used to attend blog group meetings regularly when she was a Berkman Fellow. She and Ethan Zuckerman founded the online project Global Voices to give people in countries not necessarily covered by the mainstream media a speaking place. An authority on many Asian and Internet topics, the former CNN journalist now teaches in China and is working on a book about China and the Internet.