Tuesday, September 04, 2007 

China's Websites Unplugging from the Internet

This is insanity and paranoia to the greatest extreme.

Via Wang Jianshuo:

"The "very important meeting" is going to be held soon. To prepare a "good environment" for the meeting, massive websites in China were shutdown. This time, much different from the previous actions, it is the whole data center instead of websites or servers that were shutdown.

Let me take few famous IDCs (Internet Data Center) as examples. Zitian, an IDC in Luoyang was shutdown completely, and all the 500 servers were unplugged from Internet, and tens of thousands of websites hosted there were inaccessible on Aug 24. Among them is the largest traffic tracking site 51.la, and this infected a very big portion of Internet websites in China.

Soon, on Aug 28, Lanmang, the other IDC in Shantou faced the same situation. Again, tens of thousands of websites were complete inaccessible. An unconfirmed news said the data center closed in Shantou has 3000 servers, and they are all closed. Lanmang has to hire lots of trunks to put all these servers and distribute the servers into many other data centers across China."


It seems the pressure from top really makes people take it seriously. These days, all kinds of people are busy.

* Telecom companies are busy unplugging Internet cable for data centers one by one.
* Hosting companies that were already shutdown are either busy find out solutions for the closed sites, or handle waves of customer complains, or both.
* Those hosting company or sites which were lucky enough not have been shutdown are busy shutdown "interactive sites" themselves, to avoid the whole data center run into bigger problem.
* Bigger websites are preparing contingency plans about what they will do when they were shutdown.
* All kinds of small site webmasters, or independent bloggers are busy signing up hosting package from abroad (I would be interested to know how many more orders bluehost, dreamhost, or ipowerweb got from China these days)
* Bloggers hosting their blog on BSP can only keep their finger across and pray for their little blog.

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China Switching Off the Social Web Ahead of Party Congress

This is what I have heard from various IM conversations with friends in China tonight: "Chinese authorities have asked internet websites to switch off all social (interactive) functions, including BBS, comment and blogs ahead of the 17th National Party Congress."

Is the plan to turn the Chinese internet into this in the upcoming weeks?

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007 

Wikimania 2007

This year's Wikimania is going taking place starting this Friday (August 3).

Lots of interesting presentations and here are a few that I will definitely be looking at (some are China/Chinese-related):
Naoko Kizu: Translation for Community Building

Chia-Wei Chiu: The Study of Wiki Editing Behavior of China Wikipedian - A Case Study of Wikipedia

Haidong Pan: Democracy and business model: wikipedia and wiki ecosystem in China

Ward Cunningham, Valentin Jijkoun (TBC), James Forrester, Dirk Riehle: The future of wikis

Chao-Kuei Hung: Free Culture Advocacy: A General Strategy and Some Examples Involving Social Movement Groups and Community Universities

Isaac Mao: Knowledge Forming, Heredity, and Variation

KaKan Lo: Another role of Wikipedians: Guiding machines to do intelligent tasks

Isaac has burnt a mega feed that aggregates the latest blog posts on Wikimania. Very useful. I will skim through that from time to time as well.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007 

Chinese youth as seen by Pan Yue

Contemporary Chinese youth, as seen by Pan Yue, deputy director of China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA):
"I don’t know if you will really listen to them or not, but here they are: your generation has grown up in a rich and varied environment, but has no roots or foundation. You have an excessive passion for the future, yet almost no interest in history. You have hardly any of the constraints of tradition, and you lack any real beliefs. To put it simply, idealism is rare in your generation. Pragmatism and individualism have won out. This is not really a question of individual problems, but of a wider social climate." (emphasis are mine)

I wonder what Chinese youth think about Pan Yue's comments above?

Me thinks the lack of any real beliefs might has to do with a not-so-free environment. Not enough free thinking, as my friend Isaac Mao often emphasizes whenever he tries to explain the challenges confronting China.

I also like Pan Yue's analysis on how irresponsible or bad practices in resource extraction by Chinese companies have an impact on inflation both in China as well as globally.
"Here is a classic example of what should be called environmental injustice: coal mine owners from Shanxi province indiscriminately extract coal and dig up the land, creating pollution. As a result they become extremely wealthy. Once they have polluted Shanxi, however, they do not stay there. Instead they move to Bejing where they buy luxury villas and push up house prices. They have also pushed up property prices in all the coastal regions of north China. If these areas then become polluted, they will no doubt move to the US, Canada or Australia and cause inflation there too."

Certainly an issue the world ought to give more thoughts on.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007 

Losing a communication link to China

If you are reading this in China, chances are you won't be able to see this interesting image where Erning says as "The [Flickr] interestingness page becomes more interesting."

That's because Flickr is filtered in China by the "Great Firewall" very likely because many Chinese users have uploaded photos from a recent protest against a poisonously chemical plantin Xiamen.

"Currently, the flickr.com is not blocked but the image repository server(farm1.flickr.com and farm2.flickr.com) [is]. It means the blockage is not whole domain as target, but some subdomains which may be referred most by Chinese blogosphere recently on those "sensitive" contents...Right now, people can still access flickr web site but can't see any pictures there," Isaac noted.

So unless the site blockage is lifted, I am very well losing a very effective channel to share my life and communicate with my friends in China given pictures are better than a thousand words.

Perhaps the saddest part is what Keso wrote:
"In the global Internet, the better the website, the more likely it will get GFWed. This is the sorrow of all Internet users in this country. In the past it has been Google, Blogger, Wikipedia, Wordpress.com, Vix.com... Now it's Flick's turn ...... 

I just have one character to tell those bastards: Fuck!"

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Sunday, June 03, 2007 

Ding Zilin: Lessons Learned After 18 Years

On the eve of the 18th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre, Ding Zilin and more than 20 other members of the Tiananmen Mothers have released an abridged transcript of a roundtable discussion on the commemoration of their love ones who died in the massacre, their request to the government and the groups' future plans.

There are many touching stories and words throughout the transcript. I have translated one small paragraph into English as follow:

"In the times that have past, the Tiananmen Mothers group had experienced all kinds of difficulties and hardships. But that had also broadened our horizons. [We] learned a lot of things about both inside and outside the country, as well as in the entire world. We all have gradually formed our own views on issues that pertained to China's future directions. In particular, eighteen years of difficult fights have made us gradually understood many principles. We know how to seek justice for those who died and how to strive for the rights that we have."

Transcript of the discussion (in Chinese) is here. If you could, read the entire discussion.

See also:
Ding Zilin's Letter to Hong Kong Compatriots in 2006
Statement by Ding Zilin in 2005

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