We had a good laugh when we saw this “patriotic” banner by Chinese blogger Xiucai (“秀才”) which reads: “Joyfully welcome the 17th Party Congress, building a harmonious society together. Xiucai is a good comrade. This site has temporarily shut down comments and forum features.” [h/t to Rebecca Mackinnon]
The truth is, as the 17th Party Congress looms closer, Chinese bloggers have been having anything but a party. MacKinnon also points us to an excellent post by John Kennedy of Global Voices which paints a really gloomy picture of the trials and tribulations that have come upon blog service providers and bloggers here lately:
* The latest self-discipline pledge for blog service providers and reactions to it.
* How the plugs have been pulled on Internet Data Centers (IDC’s) all across China and how bloggers are reacting.
* Reports that more than 18,000 websites have been shut down in the past few months, with less than half of them for porn.
* Via memedia, one blogger describes the shut down of “three whole floors of fully-certified IDCs in one building in Shanghai.”
* How a blogger who wrote critically of the Olympics had his blog shut down and was visited by police.
* How one social networking site yo2.cn has become a “ghost town.”
* How four Chinese journalists who blog have been facing heavy censorship, and how one abandoned his blog and the other shut down his blog to protest constant deletion of their posts.
* The posting by one blogger of “the full list of requirements passed to their company by the Public Security Bureau, namely an order for the real-name registration and immediate closure of all non-compliant blogs, BBSes, message boards and any other interactive spaces they host which remains effective until the Seventeenth National Congress wraps up in late October.” Read John’s translation of the key sections of that order.
And while we’re still trying to figure out what to think of Tom Doctoroff’s (remember that JWT guy who wrote that really confusing book about the Confucian consumer?) latest comments that China’s “middle class, perhaps 10% of the total population, is not itching for democratic reform”, we do know of some bloggers in town who are itching to just read other blogs. After failing to get his feeds to work again on his blog, LostLaowai decided to write to Feedburner (which has been GFW’ed lately), and this was the response he got:
Unfortunately, at this time we don’t have any new information to share and any blocks you noticed a week or two ago are likely to still be in place. We’re working with Google China staff to see if any possible resolution might be available, but the only ‘workaround’ to try at this point would be something like https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/2864 (gladder) for potential subscribers.
We will be sure to post something in the Known Issues and Workarounds section of FeedBurner Forums should a significant update become available. If you need to get publishing now, however, we suggest you seek other alternatives.
Thanks for your persistence,
Google Support – FeedBurner
Hah! Well, if it’s any consolation, Shanghaiist thinks Feedburner may miraculously start working immediately after the party ends at the 17th Party Congress, but if not, people, please start using Google Reader. We are a recent convert and our experience has just been simply amazing.
“Patriotic” banner from Xiucai