Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Bloggers frustrated as Beijing blocks Google service
20 May 2009
South China Morning Post
Blogger.com, Google's free blog service, has been blocked by mainland authorities since late last week, and thousands of users have complained.
It is the second time in less than two months that users have been unable to access popular platforms.
In March, netizens were denied access to Google's video-sharing website YouTube after a film showing police brutally beating Tibetans in last year's Lhasa riots was uploaded. Xinhua said the video was fabricated by supporters of the Dalai Lama.
This time, netizens do not know why their blogs are being blocked, with many assuming it is related to political sensitivity.
Nick Wong, who has used Blogger since 2006 and first found his blog was blocked last Friday, said most users believed the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown on June 4 could be the reason.
Mr Wong said overseas hosts were the only choice for bloggers who criticised the government, and used sensitive characters in their posts. He said he was going to have to move his blog. "This is my fourth blog to be blocked by the government since 2005," he said.
Google's China headquarters have yet to comment.
Outspoken blogger Bei Feng, whose Blogger site was blocked five years ago, estimated that 200,000 users may have been affected. He added that many Chinese users of Blogger were based overseas.
Amid the release of the memoirs of late party chief Zhao Ziyang , "it was not surprising officials wanted to cut channels like Blogger that the mainland public could use to access Zhao's articles", he added.
Users were already posting hints on forums about how they could blog without censorship. Others were concerned they would lose everything they had posted.
"It really hurts when you realise you might lose all your work from the last couple of years," said Mr Wong, adding that he was not even able to access his blog through a proxy server. "It is even worse when there is nowhere for you to complain."
Amid the series of sensitive anniversaries, which also include the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic on October 1, the authorities have been tightening controls over the media and internet.
Asked about the YouTube block in March, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the government did not fear the internet. "In fact, it is just the opposite," he said.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Here's a little article I wrote recently for the Foreign Service Journal.
And - exciting news alert! - I just sold my first kids' piece to Highlights Magazine. I'm not sure which month it'll run, but I've already deposited the check, so it ought to be soon. I'll keep you posted on that. I've been trying for ages to break in there, so I'm ever-so-pleased.
Friday, May 8, 2009
Seriously. They sell these tennis racket-like devices that you use to kill mosquitoes. Put a couple of AA batteries in them, press a button and aim for a mosquito. It fries the mosquito instantly, and it’s a enormously satisfying way to spend a summer evening in your house. It turns even the most mild-mannered person into a cackling freak. I definitely plan on bringing some rackets back home next year.
It’s been a busy month, with work and kids and work and kids and work and… (sleep, every so often)… and kids and, well, at the end of the day, I’m just too exhausted to update you all.
But my dirty little secret? Going to work is a heck of a lot easier than staying home. It’s quiet; it’s organized; I have a definite, achievable goal in mind; no one calls me a “dummy” or a “meanie”… the list goes on. The hardest part of the day is the transition between the two places. Leaving in the morning isn’t so bad, as the boys are already out the door for school and the girls are preoccupied with Xiao Tong’s arrival. Coming home is trickier: the boys arrive just before me, and want to tell me all about their day. Or, alternately, the boys don’t arrive just before me and I have no idea where they’ve gone (typical of Aidan, who last night didn’t walk in the door until 6:30, and then was surprised when I chewed him out). The girls are all smiles and ready to head out to the playground. They don’t even want to wait for me to change out of my work clothes.
All in all, though, I have to say I’m enjoying work. It’s nice to be writing and know for certain that I’ll be paid for what I’m doing. And it’s interesting and grown-uppy and all that. So I’ll keep going until school lets out, when I’ll need to focus my attention back on the little ones.
The big news of the week is that Ainsley turned one, and like moms everywhere, I had to ask: how’d that happen so fast? But it did, and my little baby girl has poked her first molar through and is on the verge of walking. She claps, she waves, and she holds out her hand, palm upturned, when she wants something to eat. Her eyes might be hazel, her hair might be blonde, but even though she’s a year old, nothing’s certain yet.
This weekend should be busy, with kiddie birthday parties and soccer games and even a Cinco de Mayo party. And, of course, a bit of mosquito tennis.