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War on Error

China did not built the 'great firewall' on its own

The man seen as the architect of the most powerful censorship system ever built, the ‘great firewall of China’ or 'golden shield', has had to take down his own blog after seeing it attacked by frustrated Internet users in his own country.

Despite being an obscure figure to Westerners, Fang Binxing, president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, is well-known in China’s Internet community, with a vocal minority considering him a hate figure for his censorsious achievements.

Binxing’s problems started when he posted a blog on Chinese site,, which started to attract a string of mocking posts, many containing expletives.

“Fang Binxing, the Great Firewall, has deprived people of their right to freely access the internet,” went one translated post reported on a third-party news site.

It’s at times like this, I wish I could speak Chinese.

“Animal. Running dog of the government, lower than animals,” went another reported post.

Not surprisingly, Binxing has since taken down his blog, aware that it was becoming a focal point for protest, an ironic act for a man who will go down in Chinese history as having denied people free access to the Internet.

To outsiders it’s Big Brother getting his comeuppance, an Albert Speer of the age of microprocessors and fibre optics being forced to watch as a favoured Reich building is sprayed with graffiti.

Except that Fang Binxing didn’t build the great firewall on his own, as any shareholder of large US IT firms should be aware. Let’s not name names here (although many have tried to hide the truth of their involvement) because the suspects are a matter of public record.

The senior executives of those companies would never be naive enough to publish blogs on public systems that allow comments for well-grounded fears of what they might have to read. But perhaps they should and let the Chinese offer them some of the feedback that Binxing is having to put up with.

Tags: firewall, snooping, surveillance

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