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Technically Geeking: The Great Firewall of China


a blogumn by Justin Time

Photo Credit: Amoeblog (

Hot on the heels of news that the Chinese government is blocking its citizens from viewing websites containing stories related to the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, yesterday the government unveiled plans to require all new PCs sold in China to have pre-installed censorship software.

The software can be remotely updated to block access to certain websites, and the software developer is a government-backed company, so basically they can block any site they decide is unfit for the people to see. Today that means sites related to the Dalai Lama and Tienanmen Square, but what comes next?

I know censorship and China go together like chocolate and peanut butter, but this news astounded me in this day and age. China has the largest population in the world and may have already surpassed the US as the most powerful economic force. It is shocking that such a great and powerful nation could have so little respect for the intelligence of its people.

Chinese netizens can get around the filters by talking in code, but just imagine if you wanted to say you disapproved of *water boarding* of *detainees* in a public forum here, and you could not, so you had to say, I don’t like *cheesecake* on *Thursdays*.  It does make me realize how much I take my freedom for granted.  I don’t deserve these freedoms any more than the Chinese people do.

Of course, it’s all done under the guise of protecting children from pornography. C’mon… People can install their own parental control software that does not call the secret police when you google “Tibet.”

I am not sure what to do about this horrifying case of gargantuan-scale censorship, other than call out a few code words to our geek brothers and sisters in China: Uninstall. Wipe. Reboot. Scan. Mac. Linux.