China Quietly Adds a Layer to the Great Firewall

In the Hutong, deep, deep inside the Bunker

The Washington Post site is blocked.

The guys at BeijingLUG are reporting some bizarre internet behavior – and verifying that some interesting blocking – never before seen – is happening at the international gateways. Dumb stuff – even, where one downloads electronic editions of major magazines available ONLY with a U.S. credit card, is likewise blocked.

It’s getting really ugly here again. That’s no news.

The question is – why now?

Why, all of a sudden, after a long, long liberalization, have the leadership of China decided that they need to crack down again?

The ostensible reason given is always stabilization.

Stupid twice.

China’s continued stability depends on a constant inflow of foreign cash and jobs. Here’s the problem. Businessmen in this country need access to their information. If they can’t get it, they will be increasingly inclined to take their business – and their regional headquarters, and their employment – elsewhere.

And when the economy’s growth drops off, and the property bubble bursts, and foreigners stop hiring scads of local workers because they’re shipping out to India or whereever, THEN where is this place going to be?


About David Wolf

An adviser to corporations and organizations on strategy, communications, and public affairs, David Wolf has been working and living in Beijing since 1995, and now divides his time between China and California. He also serves as a policy and industry analyst focused on innovative and creative industries, a futurist, and an amateur historian.
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