Behind The Great Firewall

For U.C. Berkeley’s California Magazine, Andrew Moss writes about his visit to Beijing during the 20th anniversary of the 1989 student movement, how those events are perceived today in China, and information control by the Chinese government:

Today, television and the print media are controlled and “Tiananmen Square Massacre,” “June 4,” and “Chinese democracy movement” are all censored terms on the Chinese Internet. The government has shut down many local websites. “We have designated June 3 to June 6 as the national server maintenance days,” it piously explains, “This move is widely supported by the public.” Meanwhile, foreign sites including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr have been blocked. Public discussion of what happened in 1989 is off limits, pushed behind the Great Firewall.

For a Westerner studying Mandarin at language school, the tight governmental control is a weird experience. And can it work in a country with 300 million Internet users? Three Beijing experts offered some surprising opinions.