China’s bloggers have always gone to extreme lengths to share information and criticism. But after the Weng’an riots this weekend, bloggers have had to become especially crafty when distributing information on the riots and their aftermath. In addition to burying coding inside search phrases that hide the words from online censors and taking a screenshot of written text, the Wall Street Journal reports netizens on Tianya.cn now flipping sentences to read right to left instead of left to right, and vertically instead of horizontally to get past all the usual keyword blocks. Sinobyte suggests that this new method might be better than most, since Chinese is an ideographic writing system “probably easier to read in odd inversions than most alphabetic languages.” Sinobyte further explains that since Chinese words are split into meaning-based units, reading reverse text is more like reading the English word “bass ackwards” instead of “sdrawkcab ssa.”
China’s bloggers continue to find new ways to scale the Great Firewall despite the central government’s crackdowns on online dissenters, with the latest case of Sun Lin, a reporter for the U.S.-based dissident website Boxun.com, sentenced to four years in prison on June 27 for “gathering crowds to cause social unrest” and other offenses. WSJ reports “24 cases of journalists, cyberdissidents or free-expression activists being arrested or sentenced to jail terms” since the beginning of 2008.