Wednesday, June 25, 2008

well, at least someone will care about this blog when i'm in china

I guess in the back of my mind I was aware of it, but I didn't fully appreciate the extent of Chinese censorship until last night. Every Tuesday night all us graduate students have to meet for "highly encouraged" informational sessions from 7-9 P.M., because we're not insanely busy or anything. Last night the first 45 minutes were spent by some guy talking about his experience working as a ministry in Hong Kong which couldn't have been more boring to me. I mean, religion is cool and all, but I have no intentions of "spreading the word" in China, so I don't really care about effective and safe ways to do so.

On the plus side, there was an alumnus there to share her experiences on living, working, and studying in China, and that was really interesting. She mostly talked about the shock of Chinese toilets (they're squat toilets, as in you have to squat over them because there isn't really a toilet at all, it's just a hole in the ground), but she also briefly mentioned issues with communicating home and the Chinese government tracking literally everything you do and write. Immediately, visions of uniform clad men with menacing eye patches and swords attached to their belts kicking in my door and yanking me away from my desk as I write yet another intriguing installment in the life of Strawberry popped into my head. I mean, this actually happens, people. It seems amusing now, since it's so far removed from my sphere of reality, but there is an ever so slight chance that it might happen. And by that I mean it's actually possible. Here in the good ol' U S of A, the worst that could happen from writing scandalous material in your blog is that you get fired from your job and end up making 40k a month by blogging full time (Dooce is my hero).

It's all very unlikely, though, especially since they're mainly concerned with people discussing socially sensitive issues like religion and politics, which just so happen to be the areas I am least interested in writing about in China! Lucky me. However, I will have to self-censor some of my content from time to time, I'm sure. So this is just a warning beforehand, because if I were to write about the government censoring my blog content while I was in China, it would probably be immediately removed from my website. I know very little about the internet so I'm not even sure how that's possible, but China is constantly monitoring it's citizens, especially foreigners that are living there, and I have read several articles in the past hour or so talking about people whose e-mails were mysteriously deleted or had posts suddenly go missing. Also, to be even creepier, they totally go through the real mail. Their technology is so sensitive that you can't even detect that they opened the envelope, but things will be blacked out or cut away from your letters.

In a way, it's kind of flattering. It's nice to know that someone cares enough about my life to check up on why I'm Googling "johnny depp naked" and getting InTouch magazine and easy mac shipped to me bi-monthly. Let's just hope those don't become politically sensitive activities.


Anonymous said...

So you didn't really provide a solution for how you're going to keep this blog running...

Try again.

Andy said...

Well, just be careful girl!! My source of entertainment may be in danger, so I really hope you only talk about how great the great wall is.