You are up, China… if your leaders let you accept this challenge…
By John M. Phillips
China- No Facebook. No Twitter. No YouTube. The Chinese government employs software and thousands of officials to police the Internet to restrict its citizens. China has some “social” media, but it is such that the companies face strict penalties if they do not adhere to the government’s strict standards.
Google tried to enter the market, but left China. Even former Google China head Kaifu Lee is often booted off “Sina” and “Tencent Weibo” (the social media they do have) for criticizing “Jike,” the government run search engine. Kaifu Lee has had some 20 posts deleted which criticized the thousands of rotting pig carcases found floating in the rivers of Shanghai. Other activists also frequently speak out, “Sometimes freedom of speech doesn’t exist in China, but you should practice freedom of speech as if it existed,” said Zhao Jing, a Chinese blogger and journalist known as Michael Anti.
Imagine Bill Gates getting kicked off of Twitter because he tweeted a critique of the government or Mark Zuckerburg being told he was going to have to get off of the internet for a few days for “conduct unbecoming” the internet. It’s something we all take for granted. We even abuse it. “The troll,” the name for anonyous posters has even made traditional media outlets in Jacksonville, Florida take action.
Despite the “troll,” our speech is mostly free. With a few exceptions, the First Amendment bars federal, state, and local governments from directly censoring the Internet here. The United States government does block a few sites, but mostly we are pretty open and the web is pretty worldwide. U.S. companies are prohibited from doing business, including those that regulate internet access with certain companies, such as certain European travel agent sites advertising travel to Cuba and others deemed especially harmful.
So, in courtsandsports’ quest to take over the world and show we are all connected, we have added Greenland, and now, China is the next largest land mass we are missing on our map and you, China, are in our sights. We can’t facebook or tweet them. We aren’t even sure how we will get this little (English) message in a bottle over there, but we will try (2013)… and try again (2014)…
So, it turns out China may block the ability for its hits to be counted. Are you out there China? Did you clicks not make a sound?