February 8, 2008

Chinese Checkers

It's official, folks. Suzie Wong, behind the Great Firewall of China in Shanghai, cannot read my blog. That's what the Website Test results say. Here they are:

Website Test Results
Tested From: Shanghai, China
Tested At: 2008-02-07
21:59:35 (GMT -05:00)
URL Tested: http://therationalfool.blogspot.com
Resolved As: 72.14.207.191
Status: couldn't connect to host

Not that all of Google Blooger sites are blocked. A redirect through my personal website is also blocked.

Website Test Results
Tested From: Shanghai, China
Tested At: 2008-02-07
22:04:46 (GMT -05:00)
URL Tested: http://www.rationalfool.com
Resolved As: 64.202.189.170
Status: couldn't connect to host

When tested from, Seattle, WA, both sites are accessible. That the People's Republic of China has chosen to block my blog does not come as a surprise to me. Not after what I have written about The Chinese Way of Life, The Shichang Price of Facts, Cultural Devolution, Off the People, by the People, for the People, When Curry Meets Tofu..., etc., etc.

I don't believe that my web site has been decorated with this honor after one of the members of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China read my posts, and decided that I am a rabid anti-communist. It'd be highly egotistic of me to think so. More likely, the story behind the blocking of my blog is along the lines of what researchers Earl Barr, a graduate student at UC Davis, and Jed Crandall, an assistant professor of computer science at the University of New Mexico say. According to them,

The "Great Firewall of China," used by the government of the People's Republic of China to block users from reaching content it finds objectionable, is actually a "panopticon" that encourages self-censorship through the perception that users are being watched, rather than a true firewall, according to researchers at UC Davis and the University of New Mexico.

Barr and Randall's work follows what a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge, England, found out about how the Chinese system of internet censorship works. They discovered that "when a banned word [is seen] in data traveling across the network, it sends a series of three "reset" commands to both the source and the destination. These "resets" effectively break the connection."

Currently, Barr and Randall are developing an automated tool, "called ConceptDoppler, to act as a weather report on changes in Internet censorship in China." A quick read of the first list of blacklisted words and phrases discovered by the ConceptDoppler indicates that if you had any post that mentioned any phrase with "Tibetan" or "Falun Gong", your blog would have only a ghost of a chance escaping the jaws of the Chinese Checkers and landing in Suzie Wong's browser. My ten favorite banned words and phrases, however, are:

10
Block
There, my blog is now definitely blocked!
9
Democracy or dictatorship
Of course, a dictatorship cannot be expected to allow that choice, can it?
8
Civil rights movement
In a classless society, the vanguard and the proletariat shall remain separate and unequal!
7
News blackout
How can any self-respecting dictatorship allow news of the news blackout?
6
Hitler
And you think the communists don't know that Hitler is an euphemism for Mao!
5
Hunger strike
Gandhigiri is for the Indi-bhai, not for the Chini-bhai!
4
Sexual massage
I never thought that sexual massage can be done over the Internet.
3
Voice of America
Dollars, ni hao. Free speech, bu ni hao.
2
The right to strike
May be in that evil Empire, but not in our worker's paradise, no sir!
1
Dictatorship organs

Dictatorship organs!! That takes the cake, of course. What can be more subversive than an unflattering description of the organs of the Dicktators?

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