Mengqin (猛禽): Five Years of the Chinese Blogger Conference

Mengqin (猛禽) is a long-time technology blogger. He wrote the following post on his Mengqin Hexie (Aggressive Birds and River Crabs) blog, translated by CDT’s Paulina Hartono:

Two days ago, I listened to a recording of “Bold Blogging” (“中国猛博”) from this year’s CNBloggerCon, and then compared it to a portion of a recording I made on my worn MP3 player at the first CNBloggerCon session. I felt such mixed feelings.

That year, we primarily talked about blogs, Blogger, RSS, copyrights, Wiki, the public good, technology … there was only one government-related topic, on Taishi village – at the time, because of the Taishi village incident, Wikipedia was blocked. However, at the time, people thought that with regard to the rushing wave of the Internet, [the government] was outmatched. That year, people faced the future full of hope and dreams — this was especially so at night during the open discussion, where scintillating thoughts of every kind came forth.

Five years passed, and the government became the main topic at the CNBlogger Con. And that word came up again: blocked.

Five years came, and the space for China’s Internet industry to exist has already been squeezed to the point that it is too painful to look upon. There have been no significant innovations, and at the same time, several excellent innovative applications overseas were one by one put behind the Great Firewall. Even the domestic copycats were either castrated [self-censorship] or killed, not even one was spared.

People on Twitter have said that the presence of the Great Firewall has pushed back China’s Internet industry at least 5 years, and further, with the high speed development of the Internet industry, 5 years was the equivalent of 50 years. Aether had an additional comment that the closure of websites like Fanfou was the primary reason for [the Internet industry] falling back. I agree with this point of view, but also see it as [due to] the GFW more broadly — all of the censorship on the Internet.

Last weekend, I participated in a Web technology salon, where we could not avoid touching upon the subject [censorship]. Though we took pains to avoid the topic, people on and off the rostrum all had it on their minds. The environment of China’s Internet industry is so vicious because of China’s status as the world’s biggest authoritarian country.

At the salon, I saw many friends. Everyone had come together for technology, and I have known some of them for many years. I found it very sad. For someone like me, who had dealt with technology for 10, 20 years, and to have never produced any results. Yet, I spend a considerable amount of time and energy to talk about politics. What kind of bitterness is this?

Still f***ing blocked.

I only hope that what this generation does in respect to the government will establish a better environment for the future’s youth, so that all of our work will not have been in vain.

Even the download for Python is behind the Wall. What the f*** is this.