WordPress.com falls to China’s Internet Wall – Chicken’s Feet seek new roost

10 Oct

The censor has gone quite literally chicken oriental. The Chicken’s Feet King has been attacked. The dreaded firewall of doom that prevents you from getting onto Facebook, Twitter, and a certain Wikipedia page about a certain massacre on a certain square in 1989 has now taken offence at WordPress.com. Yes folks -we’ve been blocked.

Personally, I’m not sure whether waffling on about eating scorpions and regurgitating China Daily articles about pervy men caught on CCTV cameras can really be called “subversive”.

However, considering now that I am stuck behind the stupid Wall, I might as well give you folks in the non-blocked world a quick intro to how Chinese people do in fact “fan qiang” – literally, climb over the Wall. The Internet Wall. Because, as you can see, that is exactly what I am doing now.

It’s not hard, either. Everyone in China knows that if you want to go on Facey B or sneakily look at anti-Government sites, it’s pretty darn easy to do so.

The simplest method is via a proxy blocker website, such as www.vtunnel.com. Simply stick your blocked site into the little type input box, and Bob’s your uncle. Admittedly he’s a somewhat temperamental uncle – you have to treat him very gently, and the odds are that the whole thing will cut out when you’re halfway through watching a cat jump over a pig on YouTube. Still, on its day, it can be very reliable.

The same goes for the great Facebook block-dodging web address, www.f3.proxymice.com. Again, can be temperamental, but I have actually managed to use it in the unlikliest of places, including (don’t judge me) at work.

Then of course, there is the VPN or Virtual Private Network. Lucky people will already have access to one from their university, work outside China or similar. Others can pay for a subscription to a service like Surfbouncer. You download VPN software onto your computer, log in every time you load the computer, and there you have it. Websites work. Absolute gem. Plus the added bonus of a British VPN is that you can also watch iPlayer et al. However,  a lot of VPNs have already been nabbed by the censor and no longer work, so it’s worth asking around for the names of reliable ones (Surfbouncer is one).

These are the standard ex-pat options. The Chinese, however, are far more inventive and exciting in their wall-jumping techniques.

Take those who want to criticise censorship itself. Chinese Internet users first developed a euphamism for it – 和谐 or “héxié”, “to harmonise”, an ironic stab at the Government’s own “harmonious society” policy.

The censors cottoned on to that one pretty fast. This was when the Chinese language, with its tones and near-identical words, came into play.

Now people blog about river crabs – 河蟹, “héxiè”. As an offshoot of that, dodgy articles can now be “aquatic-producted” (被水产, “shuǐchǎn”).

There are countless other nifty little homophones like this, along with the Wall-jumping opportunities that can be opened by using Pinyin, the Western transliteration of Chinese characters.

However, the only option for the King of the Chicken’s Feet is to find a new roost that will allow him to squawk on the legal side of the wall. After all, having to wait to get home and access my VPN in my flat five seconds away from work is simply unthinkable. When an idea strikes, there’s no stopping it – the hunt for a new coop is on.

Watch this space.

No river crabs here – Chicken’s Feet only allowed.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *