I’m back from China (jet lagged and blurry-eyed)!
One of the most interesting aspects of my visit to Anqing Teachers College for an international conference on Leapfrog Education is that the Leapfrog Institutes and Education Futures websites were non-accessible from within China, but were available to the rest of the world. The Golden Shield Project, more commonly referred to as the Great Firewall of China, is a censorship (and surveillance) system operated by the Chinese central government, designed to prevent Chinese citizens from reviewing or discussing anything that the government views as subversive or criminal. Despite the government’s investment in the system, an ecosystem of easily accessible technologies provide workarounds to Chinese censorship on the Internet. (See Wikipedia on the topic for more details.)
An interesting observation is that the Great Firewall of China is not uniformly oppressive. At the beginning of my stay, I was able to access Education Futures from the Holiday Inn-Downtown Shanghai, but was not able to access it anywhere in Anqing. Oddly, when I returned to the Holiday Inn several days later, the site was blocked at that location as well. (The Atlantic suggests that Beijing may have granted hotels greater Internet liberties due to an increased presence of foreigners during the Olympic Games.) A review of site traffic logs suggests that EF was censored sometime in June, 2008:
Education Futures visits from China (via Google Analytics)
Pre-Censure: January 1, 2008 – June 30, 2008
Post-Censure: July 1, 2008 – October 20, 2008
I’m not sure what content posted at EF would earn the blog a spot among sites censored in China, but curious readers can review China-related posts here.
My question: is being censored in China a great honor … or is it something to be concerned about?