Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blocking the Net

I'm way past due in my blog posting activities, but I do have a semblance of an excuse since I was traveling for the past four weeks. My wife, Evelyn, and I spent that time touring Southeast Asia, Japan, and China, and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.  We saw many wonderful things, not the least of which were the Great Wall of China ("Great" is an understatement) and the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi'an, China.

The Great Wall of China

Terra Cotta Warriors

Along the way, I posted one or two photos from each stop to my Facebook page, mostly so my friends would know I wasn't lying about my trip. I tried to make sure I was in most of the photos as proof, although security had some problems when I tried to climb down into the pit with the warriors. Those guards in China are way too serious.

During the time we spent in China I learned something, even though I knew it subconsciously. It wasn't until I experienced it myself did it come to the front of my mind - China blocks a lot of stuff on the Internet, including Facebook. The first day in China, when I tried to log on to Facebook to upload a photo, the page never came up, and I realized what was happening. I tried Twitter and had the same experience. Then I had an eerie feeling that my activities were being monitored.

I usually read two newspapers on my iPad, either through their websites or apps: The New York Times and my local paper, The St. Lucie News Tribune. I went to the Times' website - nothing. I tried the app but it wouldn't update. Then I tried the St. Lucie paper. I usually only read it for local news, like to see if anyone I know was arrested, but it does carry articles from the Times, AP, and other sources. Lo and behold the authorities in China are not yet aware of the St. Lucie News Tribune! I read the paper with reckless abandon. I devoured all the high school sports articles, letters to the editor, and the community calendar ( I saw that I missed an "Oxbow and the Natives" seminar on the spotted skunk at the Eco-Center while I was away - hopefully they'll repeat it). But I also read the world and national news. Democracy is safe!

Of course, as I prepare to post this, it occurs to me that my blog may now be in the crosshairs of China's Internet police. There's a possibility that I, too, may be blocked and I will lose 1.3 billion readers. Which is a shame for the Chinese people because next month I am planning to post my recipe for General Tso's Chicken.


  1. Good article, John. Well-written and very funny.

  2. Love it, John!

  3. Welcome back to the good ole USA! So pleased to know you had such a great trip, John. I'll look forward to more blogs. Lois

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  5. Love it! Now you have TWO Big Brothers watching you! See what always looking for more followers gets you?

  6. Welcome back, John. What a wonderful trip! I was in China years ago with a group of people. We were followed everywhere by someone who didn't even try to look inconspicuous. After a while, you simply got used to your shadow. That was before the explosion of the internet in China. By now, they must have an even bigger apparatus of "private/public eyes."