18 November, 2009

...Big brother's long arms

China has the world's largest population of internet users & bloggers and the world's longest political arm at web censorship. On any regular day Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Blogspot, Wordpress, Typepad, Picasa, Flickr, Bing are blocked but on days leading up to any “sensitive” events (read National Day or any episodes pertaining to the Big 3 Ts) rest assured that even Google can be blocked...sometimes for months together, simply augmenting the frustration of all the internet users here alike. 2 years of living in China has made the “language barrier” a lot more of a lesser-evil than their Great "fire" wall

A famous (?) local saying goes, “whatever is blocked by humans, gets unblocked by humans too”. Apart from being mere inane bottlenecks, I for one do not believe that these "walls" are helping the cause for which it is being practiced. Any person with a little technical competency can break through these primordial "walls" using Proxies and PVPNs.

While proxy websites like Hidefap and Proxyboxonline are handy in reaching through to Blogspot and Wordpress, PVPNs like Alonweb and PacketiX, albeit a bit slow helps me access Facebook, Twitter, Picasa or any other blocked websites with considerable ease.
The Chinese version of Youtube called Youku, although not half as good as the former, is a good medium to watch Indian and English movies with live-streaming. Some free-willed Indians religiously upload most of the Indian movies onto Youku within the first week of its release. Another novel way we stumbled upon to watch movies are through torrent downloads. MuTorrent is a useful software that helps one download movie torrents from websites such as Isohunt, Mininova, Torrentbox, Themediasite et al. Most of the new releases are uploaded onto these torrent sites for global consumption. If you have a VGA-HDMI cable, you can connect your laptop to the television and voila you can see them movies on TV. Believe you me, I have watched all the latest Hindi and English movies much before my family and friends have watched them back home.

Being in China has made Internet my right hand….and ofcourse the mobile phone my left one. I feel thoroughly incapacitated if either of it is dysfunctional. I am sure a large population of Chinese must be adopting these or even more advanced methods to break through the "wall". It is certain that they would conceivably be less aggressive than they are right now had the "big brother" stopped being such a strict net nanny and allowed people the plain Right to free Information.

Obama is currently visiting China and has touched upon the susceptible topic of “non-censorship” of the Internet. In the townhall meeting at Shanghai today he has even been quoted saying that “unrestricted internet access is a source of strength"......But is China listening?

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