Averagely paid men with buttons

In its first six weeks of existence, 6 was blocked in China. It’s now accessible in the mainland, thanks to a new IP address (effusive thanks to my brother for his help).

There’s no definite answer to why the site fell on the wrong side of the ‘Great Firewall’. Certainly nothing to do with me or the site’s content. Most likely it was collateral damage from sharing the same IP as other potentially blocked website. The blogging software I use (WordPress) is also targeted in China – but 6 is hosted on a private server, not by WordPress, so this can’t have been it. New blogs are often blocked right off the bat in China: another possibility in a guessing game with no apparent rhyme or reason behind it.

All in all, the impression I got from weeks of head-scratching, conversations and attempts to unblock this site? There’s no crushing efficiency to the net nanny, just averagely paid men and women with buttons. Often covering their behinds with a guilty-until-proven-innocent philosophy. It’s a story of mouses and men.

Nor is it too difficult to slip through the cracks of the system, both in posting and reading content: just bloody inconvenient. I’ll testify to that, given my access woes and temperamental Cisco* client VPN (like a proxy, only better). Still, where there’s a will…

Rebecca MacKinnon wrote a post worth reading on how the firewall is just part of the larger censorship machine in China. Ironically, as I now try to refind it to give a link, I see it is blocked. So here is an excellent, if old, piece on the topic by James Fallows instead.

Written while locked out of my flat and reminded of how cut off you are without 24-7 internet access and RSS feeds


* Cisco, ironically, is the firm that provided the Chinese government with the technology to create the Great Firewall in the first place. I find it fitting that if they built this wall, they should provide me with the VPN to climb it.

Update: Back in the flat, back on the VPN. Here is the link to Rebecca MacKinnon’s post