BMEWS
 
Sarah Palin knows how old the Chinese gymnasts are.

calendar   Monday - February 20, 2006

The Last Wall

The ChiComs are fighting a losing battle. They are doomed. Remember, you heard it here first. For a generation after WWII, this nation slept, tightly wrapped in the tentacles of Mao and his successors, going through one “cultural revolution” after another. Now, the sleeping giant is awakening but not thanks to Karl Marx. China is emerging as a world power thanks to its embracing capitolism, free markets and free thought - albeit in a limited way so far.

That is all about to change over the next five to ten years and the Communist Party in China has to be aware of it. The old leaders of the ChiCom Party seem intent on plugging the leaks of democracy into their country only until they die, thus preserving their power only a short time longer. It is too late even to withdraw into a shell as the Chinese have done in the past. No Great Wall will keep out the barbarian invaders this time ... for there are no barbarian invaders. 

The enemy of the ChiComs is an idea. An idea of freedom. Freedom to think and say what one wishes. Freedom to live without fear of one’s own government. Freedom to be as real (or as unreal) as one wants to be. The ChiComs’ problem is that ideas don’t tear down walls, defeat armies or sack governments - at least not directly. Indirectly though, ideas are more powerful than any invading army and freedom is the most powerful idea of them all. More powerful than kryptonite even ... which is why I say to the Chinese President ... Mister Jintao, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL ...

imageimageReference Tool On Web Finds Fans, Censors
After Flowering as Forum, Wikipedia Is Blocked Again
Monday, February 20, 2006

BEIJING (WASHINGTON POST)

When access to Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit, was disrupted across China last October, a lanky chemical engineer named Shi Zhao called his Internet service provider to complain. A technician confirmed what Shi already suspected: Someone in the government had ordered the site blocked again. Who and why were mysteries, Shi recalled, but the technician promised to pass his complaint on to higher authorities if he put it in writing.

“Wikipedia isn’t a Web site for spreading reactionary speech or a pure political commentary site,” Shi, 33, wrote a few days later. Yes, it contained entries on sensitive subjects such as Taiwan and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, but users made sure its articles were objective, he said, and blocking it would only make it harder for people in China to delete “harmful” content.

Shi was hopeful the government would agree. When the site was blocked in 2004, he had submitted a similar letter, and access had been quickly restored. Since then, the Chinese-language edition of Wikipedia had grown, broadening its appeal not only as a reference tool but also as a forum where people across China and the Chinese diaspora could gather, share knowledge and discuss even the most divisive subjects.

But today, four months after Shi submitted his letter, Wikipedia remains blocked. The government has declined to explain its actions. But its on-again, off-again attempts to disrupt access to the site highlight the Communist Party’s deep ambivalence toward the Internet: The party appears at once determined not to be left behind by the global information revolution and fearful of being swept away by it.

Officials tolerated Wikipedia at first, perhaps because it seemed to be exactly what the party had in mind when it began promoting Internet use 11 years ago—an educational resource that could help China close its technological gap with the West, encourage innovation and boost economic growth.

But as the Chinese Wikipedia flourished, the authorities apparently came to see it as another threat to the party’s control of information, and an example of an even more worrying development. The Internet has emerged as a venue for people with shared interests—or grievances—to meet, exchange ideas and plan activities without the party’s knowledge or approval.

With 111 million people online and 20,000 more joining them every day, the landscape of Chinese cyberspace resembles a vast collection of new and overlapping communities. Although Chinese write less e-mail than Americans, they embrace the Internet’s other communication tools—bulletin boards and chat rooms, instant-messaging groups and blogs, photo-sharing and social networking sites. A popular feature of the Chinese search engine Baidu lets users chat with others who have entered the same keywords.

Studies suggest this digital interaction is changing the traditional structure of Chinese society, strengthening relations among friends, colleagues and others outside family networks. In a multinational survey, a much larger percentage of Internet users in China than anywhere else said online communication had increased their contact with people who shared their hobbies, professions and political views.

The Communist Party polices these emerging Internet communities with censors and undercover agents, and manages a Web site that it said received nearly a quarter-million anonymous tips about “harmful information” online last year. But the methods the party uses to control speech and behavior in the real world have proved less effective in cyberspace, where people get away with more, and where the government is often a step behind.

- More on Commie futility here ...


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Posted by The Skipper   United States  on 02/20/2006 at 11:39 AM   
Filed Under: • Oppression •  
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
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