By Yining Su
In what is surely to be celebrated as a great victory for internet freedom in China, netizens recently discovered that the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has been unblocked. After three years of unresolved bar arguments people in China can finally learn what other movies the third male lead in The Shawshank Redemption has been in.
“Hey, it’s that guy!” filmgoers all over China have been saying to each other since January 2010, when the site was blocked, “That guy. What’s his name? Where have I seen him before?” Then, they rushed to their computers, only to have their hearts broken when they were unable to access IMDb.
According to an article in the South China Morning Post, the site was discovered to be unblocked on March 6, to great rejoicing among Chinese netizens.
The article featured quotes from Sina Weibo users to illustrate this joy.
“Thank you, China’s new leaders, this is wonderful,” said one Weibo user the SCMP quoted.
“What’s next? Facebook or Twitter?” said another.
“Is China really going to change?” asked a third.
Perhaps! Perhaps the fact that netizens in China can now learn that Ben Affleck was an extra in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie in 1992 is a sign that China is changing and soon people will all be free to access Twitter! And Facebook! And eat safe food and breathe clean air and elect their leaders!
Or maybe the site will be blocked again the next time a documentary about Tibet is prominently featured on the main page.