Wednesday, March 19, 2008


A cross-post from Froogville - unhappy news.


My two frivolous, inoffensive little blogs, Froogville and Barstool Blues, have made it on to the Chinese government's 'hate list', it seems.

Yes, as of some time on the evening of Tuesday, March 18th, I have been "harmonized" (as they like to put it in the local jargon). While most of Blogspot remains available, my blogs can no longer be reached from China - not even via Anonymouse. Gosh, that makes me feel special.

In fact, I am currently so 'special' that at around midnight last night my home Internet link was cut completely. That doesn't seem to have happened to any other laowai I know, so the Kafka Boys must really have decided that I am an ultra-bad dude.

Fortunately, they seem to have blocked me on the basis of my IP address rather than my Internet account - and, ta-daaaa, I happen to have a second computer, which is still able to get me online. Unfortunately, it is a truly ancient Vaio which is so SLOW that it barely functions with the modern Internet. And if the Kafka Boys really dislike me that much, I'm sure they'll soon notice this oversight, and block my home access completely. [By the way, does anyone happen to know how to change a laptop's IP address?]

Oh well, I have long been meaning to treat myself to a new computer anyway. And I have some 'Anonymizer' gizmos that supposedly beat all of the less drastic blocking techniques. And - if I can't get my home connection restored by yelling at the Internet provider on the phone all morning (that is my plan - I think it'll make me feel better, even if it doesn't produce any more concrete results) - perhaps I'll finally become a wi-fi fan and spend my days trying to get my work done in bars and cafés.

If I'd thought the authorities here would ever get this medieval on my arse, well, I would have liked to have done more to deserve it.

Yes, I have made fun of the Chinese government's propaganda-speak on occasion. I have made one or two indelicate references to Taiwan. And a couple of days ago, I was rash enough to mention a few China-based blogs I like to read that had already suffered "harmonization". I have also used my Blogger ID to comment in a few other places (notably on my friend J's excellent Chinese history blog, Jottings From The Granite Studio) on the current troubles - I wonder if that's what really got me into trouble.

On the whole, though, I'm really not a very political blogger: literature, cinema, music and humour (and love and regret and the consolation of a good beverage) are my main writing interests. I don't talk about China all that often, and I hardly ever mention current events. In particular, I had carefully avoided making any overt references on my own blogs to the Tibetan riots. And I certainly wasn't about to go posting any photographs or film clips of the events.

Now...... I wish I'd been more courageous, more outspoken.

Perhaps I will be from now on. After all, you might as well be hanged for a sheep as...... well, hanged for nothing at all.

And you can't imagine how pissed off I am at this sort of censorship. Losing my blogs is painful enough (I have become a bit of a junkie for them, I admit); but to lose my Internet connection - that disrupts, paralyses my social life, destroys much of my livelihood, cuts my only link to my family back home.

"Of course, you realise this means WAR?"


fg said...

Bother, Maybe the shouting will work? I hope to read more here soon.

The British Cowboy said...

It is times like this I want to bitch slap around some of the more stupid "lefties" in the States.

As you know, Froog, I am no defender of the commander-in-chimp and his regime, but when I hear people talk about how the basic US freedoms have been suspended, and we are becoming a police state, my eyes roll more than a little.

Froog said...

Ah well, my 'ban' only lasted a couple of days this time.

It was a pretty scary couple of days, though. There was a lot of other weird shit going on around me as well. I was starting to feel quite badly persecuted.

I'm a bit more sympathetic to the American 'lefties' than you, Cowboy. It's a question of not being able to miss what you've never had, I think. The most swingeing censorship goes almost unnoticed here in China; but in America, which has established laudably high standards for individual freedom, any small erosion of rights is felt far more keenly. The 'police state' stuff may be a bit overstated; but if you don't dig your heels in now, you could end up there soon enough.