This Is Our Internet, taken from meme.yahoo.com/dingding.
But, with any luck, the government may one day realize how futile their firewall is. For one, according to the Wall Street Journal, their attempts to stop us from reading what we want aren’t working very well (no matter what Bono says):
But for each critic the authorities stop, more rise. “There are simply too many people,” says Xiao Qiang, a scholar who studies the Chinese Internet at the University of California at Berkeley. “They can do that to a very small group … but the approach certainly is not good enough to intimidate all the voices online.”
Mr. Xiao points to the example of Liu Xiaobo, detained in December 2008 for his role in creating Charter 08, a sweeping call for political and legal reform in China. Mr. Liu was sentenced on Christmas Day to 11 years in prison for subversion. But since his detention, thousands more Chinese have signed Charter 08 through Internet sites that disseminate the document.
Plus, if Evgeny Morokiv of The National is right, techno-utopianism – the thought that getting aro-nd internet restrictions and using social media will somehow lead to government upheaval and massive social change – is mostly a sham:
Techno-utopianism is usually rooted in rigid and obsolete views about the relationship between authoritarianism and information. Most techno-utopians interpret the fact that authoritarian governments resort to censorship as a sign of their weakness. Hence, whenever authoritarian governments cede control over information, they are believed to become weaker. Thus, every time Chinese bloggers use proxy servers to access banned content, they are slowly eroding the Great Firewall of China. And where the firewalls fall, dictators soon follow.
This view is fatally flawed, as it understates the sophistication and flexibility of modern authoritarian states and overstates the democratic aspirations of their citizens. Western leaders have an unhealthy tendency to imagine politics in authoritarian states as being more hyperactive and participatory than the politics in their own countries. They implicitly view all Chinese, Russians and Iranians as hard-core news junkies and seasoned political dissidents. Authoritarian states are thus seen to be one step away from full-blown revolution – and waiting for the West to nudge them, whether via the Voice of America, BBC World, or judicious retweets.
But this is an anachronistic view of the world. Modern authoritarian states have eagerly (but selectively) embraced globalisation to provide their citizens with at least a modicum of self-actualisation without ever abandoning their authoritarianism. Their young people travel the world, learn English, use Skype and poke each other on Facebook – all while competing for comfortable jobs with state-owned companies. We are entering the age of “accommodating authoritarianism” – and the internet has played a crucial (though hardly the only) role in providing many of the accommodations.
Hey, Neil Postman, it looks like we’ve found new and more interesting ways to amuse ourselves to death! And once those folks in the Information Ministry realize this, maybe we’ll finally get our Youtube back.