Shocking, yes. But it doesn't surprise me? Dave Winer reports on the recent blogging ban on all Blogspot.com sites in China. While we're living in the 21st century this statement written in March 1775 (B.G.) before blogging rings as true today.
Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and to provide for it.
And the illusion today is that we would expect anything different from the Chinese Government. Bloggers in China have no voice. And therefore no audience. For those repressed voices and their opinions, ideas, thoughts and desires fall on deaf and fearful ears. Sure. As others have noted, proxies and other workarounds can help these bloggers be heard. But it's a much bigger story and issue.
But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve.
Can a blogger outcry as Pekingduck suggests, open the eyes of the Chinese government? Ain't gonna happen. Again, an illusion of hope. It's going to take much more. Inasmuch as my sentiments are with bloggers on this one, it is apt that Dave posts the classic photo of the lone Chinese standing in front of the tanks of the Chinese Army in Tiananmen Square, for no blogger writing today with the bravery of being out of range and in the comfort of his or her space with computer and broadband internet access can match the courage, spirit and conviction of the students exhibited in 1989 and the during the June 4th massacre in Tiananmen Square. This was a time where spirit and desire for liberty were strongest in China. The situation today has deteriorated.