17 September 2008

The Great Firewall of China


The fact that internet access in China is filtered and censored to weed out material that the government deems unacceptable has been well documented. This censorship is often called "The Great Firewall of China" and I wanted to reference this in my Great Wall print. This means I have a lot of 0s and 1s to carve.

It's estimated that some 30,000 Chinese civil servants are employed to monitor Internet traffic and block content that is deemed undesirable. There are also freelance censors and volunteers who report violations to the authorities. All this scrutiny creates the perception that users are always being watched, which in turn sets up an environment where individuals and businesses willingly self-censor to avoid repercussions.

In the run-up to the Beijing Olympics it was reported that some of the government's web site blocking loosened up, but here is a sampling of words that have been known to trigger the filtering system:

- Revolution
- Equality
- Freedom
- Justice
- Taiwan
- Tibet
- Falun Gong
- Dissident
- Democracy
- Human rights
- Dalai Lama

Ooops, I think I just triggered the system!


Magic Cochin said...

Annie - (sighh!!!) you don't make things easy for yourself, do you!!!!!!

But as fellow stickler for perfection and lover of detail, I can feel the satisfaction of completing each row of 1s and 0s and developing a system for cutting a perfect digit!

Love it!!!!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Um, thats an amazing number of 0s and 1s....What do you listen to while working, or is it just the scrape of your teeth on the board ? (stunned)

Annie B said...

Thanks! Celia, I must admit to having ruined a number of the zeros. Part of the handmade charm.
Diana, you make me laugh. I listen to NPR until I get too upset, then I switch to calming music. Also been listening to some podcasts about the art scene in Seattle, since I'll be going there in a couple of weeks. Here's a link to an interview with Chinese artist Zhi Lin, who did a series of paintings called "Five Capital Executions in China."

kimbatch said...

Is anyone going to hold China to account on the promises it made that hosting the Olympics would improve human rights in China?

China’s officials must let people practice whatever religion or spiritual practice they choose. Just like they must let journalists go about their business without censorship, and let peaceful human rights defenders campaign on whatever issues they like, and just like they must let ethnic minorities to express their culture.


Sue said...

Argh! All those 1s and 0s ....you are a real trooper and I take my hat off to you!

My brother lived in China near a monastery until a few months ago (being a Buddhist monk) and he told me my art blog was 'unavailable'over there! I can't think why the ramblings about spotty prints and slipped gouges should trouble the Chinese Regime. LOL!