China Bloggers Emerge, But Not Too Loudly

Blogger and technology columnist Dan Gillmor was visiting Shanghai last week. He published this article in his Sunday column in the San Jose Mercury News.

“China is a welter of contradictions. There are free local Internet dial-up phone numbers in big cities, where anyone can get onto the Net anonymously. But the Great Firewall Internet filtering system — built by the government but assisted by U.S. tech companies (including San Jose’s own Cisco) that only see dollar signs — blocks so much useful and thought-provoking information from the people.

I hope China’s regime will loosen up in more than economic ways. It really has to. In the end, freedom to say what you want is a prerequisite for genuine economic freedom.

Blogs are part of an emergent global conversation. They are individualistic, human voices. They will emerge as a vital set of Chinese voices, too — if they’re given the chance. ”

I concur with Dan’s points. I also see what Chinese bloggers’ energy, creativity and ingenuity has achieved over the last two short years to spread blogging from a handful of people to 600,000 and growing under the censorship regime. For now, the vast majority of blogs are primarily personal and literary diaries. However, their powerful potential for network building, news disseminating, and media aganda-setting in the long run cannot be underestimated. I just wrote a longer piece about China’s blogging movement which will be published on the coming issue of the New Scientist this week.

November 21, 2004 9:59 AM
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