Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Be careful what you ask for

Be careful what you ask for; you might actually get it.

And then some.

I think the censors in China learned this. Perhaps.

They censored a journalist... and he turned around and brought blogging to the Chinese masses.
It was just another routine act of censorship in a country where the censors rule. But as they casually killed the articles, the Chinese censors were unaware that they were unleashing a monster....

The author of the banned articles, a young journalist named Fang Xingdong, was an outspoken critic of the software giant Microsoft. But two hours after his critical essays about the company were published on July 6, 2002, they suddenly disappeared from every website in the country, deemed too controversial.

"I had been one of the pioneers of the Internet in China," he recalls. "Yet after six years of being published on the Internet, suddenly I couldn't get on any websites."

Frustrated and angry, he talked to a friend who mentioned the emergence of blogging in the United States. He glanced at a few blogs. At first they seemed too primitive. But as he thought about it, he began to see the creative possibilities.

"I was very excited," he says. "I couldn't sleep all night."
Now his company hosts a blogging site that has more than 14 million Chinese bloggers, and they add more than 10,000 a day.

Yeh, that censorship-thing really worked. Bet some Chinese bureaucrat is regretting having taken Mr. Fang's couple of articles.

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