Mostly China's internet filters are seen as a nuisance, not really as a blockade of the outside world. That stopped for China-watcher Bill Dodson in July, when his internet connection in Suzhou stopped working all together, he explains on his website.
The best we could all figure was there was a confluence of events that forced the powers that be (PTB) to bring internet traffic to a standstill while they cleaned forums, blogs and Weibo “tweets” of messages that were not in the CCP’s best interest at the time. Those included that day: 1) the indictment of Bo’s wife on murder charges; 2) Qidong’s pollution protest going viral; 3) and Beijing releasing an update of number deaths in flooding weekend before.
I remember sitting during the internet downtime thinking about what it would be like to be a researcher in China who depended on the internet for news and analysis of the latest discoveries in my field, and for communications with colleagues around the world about ongoing projects...
I write in the final chapter of my latest book China Fast Forward how the internet and open science will provide a wealth of scientific discovery that just may usher in a new scientific Renaissance. The key is an openness of discoveries that benefit public interests, a sharing of information, and collaboration across disciplines, including the arts and sciences.
It’s a shame China’s PTB may have the country miss the train again, just as it had 400 years ago when Newton (who the young man in the BBC story quoted), Copernicus, Bernoulli and other geniuses were re-figuring our world.
Bill Dodson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.
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