Saturday, 24 March 2007

China Economics Blog Blocked in China

It was rather a shame yesterday to discover that "China Economics Blog" has been blocked in China.

The aim of this blog is to report on economics issues and to actively help Chinese students considering further education in the UK (by means of supplying links to University rankings, MSc Economics courses, British Council etc.)

Whilst we acknowledge that we may cover subjects that are politically sensitive such as corruption and environment degradation we aim to report the economics and not the politics in which we aim to maintain a neutral position.

This website seems to be the place to test whether your site has been blocked or not.

The Great Firewall of China

Putting in my website confirmed my initial fears. Of course there is the problem of a loss of potential readers but more importantly this censorship, by removing access to important information on students future educational choices, has a cost in the long run to the Chinese economy (a very small one granted but you can see the point) and to the individual student.

Any information on how or if such blocking is ever lifted would be useful or any other comments on those sites that have suffered a similar fate.

Although I will not say which ones, slightly less than half of my China Blog Roll are currently blocked. How did the others escape? Are google blogspot blogs more liable to be blocked (it would appear so)? Who grassed me up ;-)

This article from earlier in the month may provide some explanation:

China ramps up blog censorship
China will intensify controls of the growing numbers of bloggers using the internet to lay bare their thoughts, politics and even bodies, the country's chief censor has announced.

The director of China's General Administration of Press and Publication, Long Xinmin, said the administration was forming rules to further regulate internet publishing, including the country's legions of bloggers, the Beijing Morning Post reported on Tuesday.

"We must recognise that in an era when the internet is developing at a breakneck pace, government oversight and control measures and means are facing new tests," Long told members of China's national parliament on Monday, the report said. Long singled out bloggers as one challenge.

Long said "citizens' freedom of expression would be fully protected".

But China's restless blogging population has been a headache for the ruling Communist Party, which has sought to extend long-standing censorship to the country's fast-growing internet.

By last September, the number of blog sites in China reached 34 million, a 30-fold increase from four years before.

Chinese bloggers have detailed their political views, hobbies and grudges. One famed pioneer, Mu Zimei, a young journalist, attracted a storm of publicity in 2003 by chronicling -- names and all -- her complicated love life. Another blogger, calling herself Liu Mangyan, published nude photos of herself.

More sober-minded bloggers publish combative investigative journalism and punditry on current affairs.

The press and publishing administration and other authorities would be casting new rules to cover internet "publishing activities", Long said.

"The publishing administration authorities have been paying attention to this new mode of Internet dissemination," Long said.

China does not lack rules controlling the Internet; an army of competing agencies often issue regulations.

Last year, China's Ministry of Information Industry issued rules on Internet news content that analysts said was aimed at extending regulations governing licensed news outlets to blogs and Internet-only news sites.

Reuters


UPDATE: It appears that China has blocked all "blogger" sites and that now we are back up and running in China. It is good to see sense prevail. I assume this means that google have been on a charm offensive.

3 comments:

Emmanuel said...

ChinaEconomist--I'm sorry to hear that you've been blocked out of the Middle Kingdom. I'm not certain but I think the reason why you've been blocked is because you have "China" in your title. If it means a lot to you, try switching your sitename to something like "middlekingdomecon.blogspot.com." Changing URLs is easy with Blogger and it just might work.

Alejandro said...

I spend the last two week in the Middle Kingdom and follow your blog through Google Reader without any problem.
I like very much the blog!

Anonymous said...

don't think it's blocked out since i'm able to access it without any use of ieproxy or things like that