eldavojohn writes "MIT's Tech Review has an article on the current state of Internet censorship in China. We've read the stories about Green Dam and the Great Firewall, but this article relates the story of one of the many ways around these tools and how they're little more than an added complexity to getting what you want from the Internet in China. The article starts out with an aliased user named Xiaomi who wakes up and utilizes Google Docs to collaborate with other Mandarin-English speakers so they can translate the day's news. Once it's there she makes it public and sends out a note on Twitter and Buzz to her followers, who copy the document to their blogs and link back to the public Google Document. The blogs survive for various lengths of time, but while they are up more people read and publish to their blogs, and the pyramid branches out." (Read more, below.)
The article explains the complicated chain of tools she employs to avoid being invited down to a police station to "drink tea" (interrogation and imprisonment). Although anonymous and unrewarded, Xiaomi's work is crucial to China. An MIT expert on China claims, "The Internet has empowered the Chinese people more than the combined effects of 30 years of [economic] growth, urbanization, exports, and investments by foreign firms." By the time all is said and done, Chinese censorship is little more than mocked by thousands of people like Xiaomi. The cofounder of Global Voices explains, "We assume censored means 'Dead. Lifeless. Artificial.' What 'censored' actually means is 'really, really complicated.'" Despite our dire view of Chinese censorship, the article presents comprehensive evidence of people not only avoiding it altogether but successfully anonymously working together to avoid it, as well as protests going viral on the Internet in China. On the Internet, where there's a will there's a way.
Thus spake the master programmer:
"When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes."
-- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"