Translation: Prof. Xiao Han on Academic Freedom

Just over a month ago, a law professor named Xiao Han at China University of Political Science and Law, the top law school in the country, had his classes cancelled inexplicably. Last week, he issued an open letter (translated below) asking the dean of the law department to give him a proper explanation for the cancellation. So far, the school maintains that Professor Xiao lacks the proper certification to teach, but Xiao has countered that accusation by saying that he was never required to have any such certification when he was hired six years ago.

Prof. Xiao Han

Xiao is an extremely popular professor on campus but has often had run-ins with his superiors due to his outspoken nature. He was known for publicly criticizing the government, including specific laws regarding everything from human rights to forced relocation. It still remains unclear what in particular caused Xiao’s classes to be cancelled and we’ll keep you updated when anything new comes out. Either way this turns out, it could have far reaching implications for academic freedom across the country.

Translation: Seeking the advice of Dean Xue Gangling on the issue of professors’ freedom

Dear Dean Xue!

First I would like to make it clear that this is an open letter.

This letter has been made public on my Sina blog and NetEase blog. I am making this letter open to the public in order to guarantee that we have a fair discourse. Furthermore, this issue does not simply involve me personally but also speaks to the principles of academic and educational freedom at all institutions of higher learning and therefore is worthy of being a subject of public debate.

My problem is simple. At the beginning of this semester, my classes were inexplicably cancelled.

Students at the China University of Political Science and Law

At the end of last semester, I had already discovered that my courses had been removed from the class list despite the fact that I had been planning to teach “Case Studies in Constitutional Law,” “Case Studies in Administrative Law” and I had requested to teach “Chinese Constitutional and Political History” (This course was cancelled without following proper procedures in the previous semester). I was also supposed to teach “Guided Readings of Classic Texts” for graduate students.

I learned from several sources that my classes had indeed been cancelled. I also was told by the Registrar that this was not a simple mistake.

What surprised me most was that you did not follow any of the proper procedures for canceling classes. You did not formally provide me with a reason for the cancellation, nor did you present any of the documents require for canceling these classes. It seems that you don’t have to follow any procedures to cancel a professor’s classes.

Dean Xue, I am not interested in understanding your motive for canceling my classes. After I was certain that my classes had been cancelled, I patiently waited for you to follow the proper protocol and provide me with an appropriate reason. But it has been three weeks since the semester started and you still have not given any explanation for this matter.

I believe that this matter is gravely serious as it involves the most basic academic principle present throughout the modern civilized world: professors’ freedom.

From January 2004 to now, I’ve been at the China University of Political Science and Law for a total of six years. When looking back on my work over the past six years, I find I have committed no transgressions against international teaching and academic principles…….[Editor: Here Xiao details complaints Dean Xue had against one of his classes for not addressing pre-Qin Dynasty history.]

My students’ reviews of my class always have given me higher scores than the average for the school. Although I do not believe that students’ ratings should be the main standard for evaluating a professor, but I would not be so haughty as to say that I am an outstanding professor. What I would like to emphasize is that I believe in the academic principles of “freedom of thought, and independence of spirit.” I try my best to let my students form their own opinions about what I teach and engage them in interactive discussion. At the end of every semester, I have each student write a 3,000-word term paper on any topic discussed in class in order to cultivate their creativity.

China University of Political Science and Law
During these past six years, I have not published very many academic papers and my bonus is normally only around 2,000 yuan a year and I am perfectly content with that. I have my own attitude toward academics. Considering my age [Ed: 40] and academic standing, I am unable to and shouldn’t try to be prolific. If I were to underperform, I wouldn’t need anyone to point it out to me. I’d be the first person to criticize myself. I’m especially opposed to people who waste paper and readers’ time just for the sake of promotions and bonuses. I once wrote on a performance evaluation: “Universities aren’t hen houses. You feed a hen and it should lay eggs. That’s not what academics is about.” I won’t change my opinion on this.

You’ve also expressed dissatisfaction with my lack of participation in campus meetings. I understand why you’re upset, but I will continue avoiding these events because they are just bureaucratic meetings. Rarely do we have academic discussions and I think it is not worth the risk of going to a bureaucratic meeting in hopes of talking of something of value. I won’t attend these events as if I’m buying lottery tickets. I’ll start going the day we’ve gotten rid of the administrative nonsense and they become more like normal academic conferences.

Looking back on my six years at this university, I don’t believe that I have ever done anything that went against the principles of academia or education, nor have I abused academic freedoms. I truly cannot understand what reason you could possibly have for canceling my classes. Dean Xue, could you please follow the proper academic procedures and inform me why my courses have been canceled? Why are you infringing on my rights as a professor to teach and those of my students to take my courses?

If I may be so bold as to offer my opinion on this matter, I’d say that China University of Political Science and Law doesn’t need someone who strangles academic freedom and tramples on professors’ rights as a department head.

Xiao Han, Professor of Law

March 21, 2010

Translation: “A Record of the Ancient Dove’s Migration”

On March 27th, the Chongqing Evening News published a remarkable story. Defying the direct orders of official government bureaus forbidding Chinese media to hype the Google fiasco, the Chongqing Evening News ran a story about a mythical bird whose name sounds just like the Chinese word for Google and whose story sounds, well, familiar. You may have seen this story in brief on EastSouthWestNorth, but we wanted to translate it in full because we found it so remarkable that something this brazen was published in a mainstream newspaper. We imagine some heads at the Chongqing Evening News will roll because of this.

Translation

We have translated this somewhat loosely in the hopes of conveying more clearly the parallels with the real Google story, but readers of Chinese should read the Chinese for the full, pun-tastic effect. We also moved one sentence from the middle of the text to the beginning because it read oddly in English otherwise.

The “Ancient Dove” [sounds like “Google”] is clearly very close to extinction within China, it is a bird hard to find when one “searches” […] It is held that this bird is the forbear of all modern birds, so it is called “Ancient Dove”.

This species originated in North America according to biologists, who believe the bird to have come from the area of present-day Santa Clara. By the turn of the century, the bird could be found everywhere. After March 23, 2010, the species began a large-scale costal migration in China, towards a southern port, and vanished from China.

Google - the "Ancient Pigeon"
Google: the Ancient Dove
Ecologists suspect the bird’s odd behavior is connected to the extreme climate changes happening in recent years, especially the ecological, environmental, climate and geological calamities in China. When met with adversity, the Ancient Dove cannot persevere as tenaciously as the Grass Mud Horse, so it raised the flag of retreat, attracting the disdain of some of the world’s animal lovers.

Special Characteristics

Its shoulders are draped with blue, yellow, red, and green feathers, and it is a bit bigger than the common dove. Its call sounds like the English word “googol”; Native Americans believe that this sound represents an “unbelievable number”. Mathematicians performed rigorous calculations and believe this number is probably ten to the hundredth power.

Environment

The Ancient Dove has an extremely strong capacity for adaptation, and can evolve quickly to become a new, indigenous subspecies. For example, at present there are large populations of American Ancient Doves, Japanese Ancient Doves, British Ancient Doves, and other subspecies. Because archaeology has proven the original Ancient Dove came from America, we often refer to the American Ancient Dove as “Ancient Dove”, and attach the name of the country they are located in to identify other subspecies.

The story in the Chongqing Evening News
Early research has shown that the Ancient Dove’s leaving may give rise [to the dominance] of another, long-clawed bird that looks just like the Ancient Dove but is actually a bird of prey: the “Paidu Bird” [sounds like “Baidu”, Google’s chief domestic competition]. The numbers of this ancient legendary domestic bird are presently expanding explosively. Now, Chinese people can only use this poisonous, ferocious bird, whose calls are in Chinese and who loves only money to fulfill the Ancient Dove’s function.

Habits

Living in groups, the subspecies in each country may excel at different things. The Ancient Dove eats anything with words on it, and can naturally estimate the relative worth of food. It performs advanced calculations to decide the proper sequence [in which to eat].

As you know, its mortal enemies are the “River Crabs” [sounds like “harmony”, a reference to government censorship], the “Wenzuo Crabs” [sounds like “the Chinese Writer’s Association“, which is also associated with censorship], and other types of Chinese crabs.

Current Population

In the world, there are an estimated 120 billion Ancient Doves, but they have already mostly disappeared from the Chinese mainland. What were once Chinese Ancient Doves have migrated to Hong Kong, so there is a downward trend in the worldwide population.

Many animal lovers went to the Beijing Ancient Dove santuary before March 23, 2010, to express their grief.

Our Thoughts

It is fascinating that the talking-about-it-without-talking-about-it approach to discussing politics in China has spilled over from the internet and into the real world. This is, of course, not the first time, but it is the latest example of a kind of “news” that could never have been written or understood anywhere but China, where it seems sometimes a true story can be told only mythologizing and anthropomorphizing it. Could it also be the beginning of a trend, or will the censors head it off at the pass by making an example of the folks at the Chongqing Evening News? What will happen to them remains to be seen. But their having the guts to publish a story like this in the face of harsh warnings not to address the Google issue sympathetically shows a spirit that I think the now-exiled Ancient Doves would be proud of.

Google Search Now Blocked in China

via Shanghaiist
In case you haven’t already heard, Google searches (on Google.com and Google.com.hk, according to reports on Twitter) now all return a reset connection, i.e., they have been blocked by China’s net nanny.

However, the good news is that many people (we saw it on Kaiser Kuo’s Twitter, among others) are reporting they can still use Google via the search bar in their browsers or through GMail. And others have speculated that at least Google.com.hk is blocked only because its search URLs include “&gs_rfai=”. RFA, or Radio Free Asia, is an American pro-democracy and anti-CCP radio station and searches for RFA are blocked, so it’s likely that if that is the reason for the block, Google could undo it by changing the URLs that their searches result in.

Still, all of this is secondhand knowledge. We’ll wait on Chinayouren for the official report as Julen is the master GFW tester, but we’d love to hear four things from you in the comments:

  1. Where you are.
  2. Whether search works for you on Google.com.hk
  3. Whether search works for you on Google.com.
  4. Whether Google search works for you via a browser search bar, GMail search bar, or some other means.

Whatever the ultimate result of this Google block, you can be sure the media firestorm is coming. To keep track of all the sides and how they’re spinning things, Imagethief has got a handy chart for you!

On a small housekeeping note, you will notice we have returned the ability to rate posts. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Good news! Google has confirmed that the “rfa” in its search results URLs was what was triggering the block, so Google searches in China should be restored soon.

Yang Hengjun: “Discussing the post-80s Generation” (Part 1)

The following is a translation of a recent post from Yang Hengjun, a political espionage novelist and blogger. This article is part one of a series of articles he is writing about the post-80’s generation.

In this post, Yang Hengjun discusses his experience with a group of University of Hong Kong students during a recent lecture titled “Peddler of Democracy Looks Ahead to China’s Future”. Yang Hengjun discusses how his initial focus on raising issues of China’s future led instead to an exploration of the importance democracy will play in lives of post-80’s generation youths.

Translation

Discussing the Post-80’s Generation

Part 1

Every year before and after the Spring Festival and at the start or end of a school semester, standing at the Guangzhou train station you will see red-eyed parents sobbing inside train cars. Separated from their children by the glass of the window, parents weep, not wanting to leave them. Such scenes are unbearable even to strangers. However, what makes such situations more difficult to bear is the thought that the departing parents leave behind children whose faces are filled with indifference, as if the departing parents were not the child’s parents at all.

This, perhaps, aside from being something unique to the high traffic time of the Spring Festival, is a uniquely Chinese characteristic. Though I’m not sure if there is any relevant department keeping statistics of exactly how many parents have no choice but to leave their children behind in their former home towns and villages as they head out to work elsewhere, I’d have to guess that the number reaches well over 10 million.

Train stations are certainly not the only area where loved ones depart from one another’s arms. At the airport, for example, you will witness another sight: parents, heart broken at having to let their sons and daughters go, stare at the customs gate, behind which their children disappear as they leave to study abroad. The difference between these two scenes is that the parents at the train station belong to the society’s lower class of peasants, whereas the airport parents are society’s upper-class elite. The similarity: both groups of parents, for the betterment of their children, are willing to endure the pain of separating.

The two paragraphs above come from a recent discussion I had with students at the University of Hong Kong’s News Media Research Center. Perhaps only on the Chinese mainland can one witness with such frequency the scenes described above.

Yang Hengjun
Amidst turbulent change, Chinese people are pursuing a better life in hopes that they can achieve their ideals. In such pursuit, they leave their wives and children, their young and old, in villages far behind. To leave, or to stay? Although this question does not carry the same life or death consequences as Hamlet’s “to be or not to be”, it does, very often, change one’s fate. This is the question I proposed to HKU’s post-80’s generation during a recent lecture.

On the tenth of this month, the lecture I held at HKU was titled, “Peddler of Democracy Looks Ahead to China’s Future”. (Terrifying, isn’ it? The content was more so, and as such this post may not be up for long.) As most of those that had been invited to attend were academic scholars and experts, I was understandably quite shocked to see that the lecture had attracted mostly young people. Due to such a turn out, I chose to emphasize China’s growth and future in the lecture.

After the lecture, I was asked more questions than I could answer. What was more intriguing, however, than the amount of questions asked, was that although my lecture was focused on discussing China’s future, the students in attendance were more concerned about discussing their own futures. Professors Chen Wanjing and Gang Qian both suggested we arrange an additional discussion, but on a smaller scale, where interested students could gather in order to continue discussing the issue at hand.

The day of the second discussion, around twenty undergraduate and graduate students came to participate. Most of these students were mainland exchange students who had come to HKU to study. In every respect, they could all be labeled post-80’s generation students of good fortune. I was very pleased to have the opportunity to hear their opinions and to offer my own advice. On that day, our discussion prompted me to write a series of blog posts centered around our “post-80’s generation discussions”.

Although this series of blog posts will indeed touch upon the issues that arose in those discussions, I will not limit myself to just those discussions. As everyone knows, most of my readers, as well as those who frequently leave comments on the blog, are young people. Of the thousands of emails I receive each year from these readers, many of them surprisingly do not raise the issue of democracy, or ask questions relevant to the content of the blog, but instead many ask questions about their lives, work and future, and hope to hear my advice.

I have to admit that at first I was a little depressed. I thought to myself, little brothers and sisters, you have chosen me to act as your adviser and confidant? I am trying to discuss with you the future of our country and the fate of our people, and instead you tell me your plans for the future and ask for my suggestions. I am a peddler of democracy not a psychic; or would you so easily have me help you mastermind some scheme for your future?

Eventually, a friend pointed something out to me: I should not at all be depressed with this situation, but instead be amused. He said, “What country’s future is so far divorced from the fate of its people that it escapes the minds of its youth? That young people are not making this connection is bullshit. The reason that your declarations of democracy and universal values attract the attention of many young people is not because your words simply move them to look upward to the stars, but because your words awaken within them a sense of self. It is precisely because your thoughts on democracy are not bullshit that they turn to you for advice about their futures. The idea of democracy is something very close to them. It keeps their feet on the ground….”

the post-80s generation
And that makes sense. As long as discussions of democracy are not simply for the purposes of academic exploration, an individual whose thoughts on democracy disinterest young people obviously has a deep flaw in his or her presentation. A young person’s disinterest in democracy cannot be blamed on brainwashing. Thinking this, I was as elated as Ah Q. But then I realized, since it was my ideas of democracy that were responsible for enticing others so that they now desired to participate in such discussions, I was now responsible for answering their questions.

The problem with this is that throughout this time I have found these questions difficult to answer. I had originally thought I saw clearly the future of our country and people. However, I don’t believe now that I have a clearer vision of this than any one else.

There is no issue more important to a country than that of the future of a country’s people. Such an issue is more important than the sum total of any one person’s personal problems. And as such, we should not be the least bit casual or hasty in discussing these issues. Especially for those young people who have fostered a fondness and respect for me, I should be more prudent in progressing with these issues. Starting today, let these posts stand as an answer and explanation to the questions and inquiries I never clearly answered in the past.

I want to thank the HKU post-80’s generation students who attended the lecture for giving me the opportunity to sit and speak together with them. I also want to thank those who were in attendance who I did not have the opportunity to sit down and speak with. I’m sure I could have learned a great deal from you as well. I especially want to thank my readers. In the following posts, I will discuss issues faced by our country’s youth during this time of turbulent change; issues which touch upon democracy and universal values.

However, before this, we cannot avoid the question asked by many of the lecture’s audience members on that day. This question, for them, is a very practical question, for they, at this very moment, are stepping on the country’s doorstep. They are the mainland students facing the first question discussed above: to go abroad and continue advancing studies, or stay on the Chinese mainland?

As a peddler of democracy, I have failed. Free democracy has not come to China. Instead, the thought of crossing Luohu Bridge in search of freedom, or crossing the Atlantic in the pursuit of democracy, has entranced the hearts of masses of youth. Instead of ideas of free democracy importing youth, it is causing them to leave.

Actually, going home or going abroad, this question can only be answered by looking at one’s personal situation. When you ask me, the only thing I can do is talk about my personal experience, and help you understand the situation abroad and at home. For example, going abroad has what disadvantages, staying in China has what advantages. And these disadvantages and advantages will differ from person to person. However, there is one point that is very similar for all, and that is that a superior person, an upward bound and hard-working person, under any circumstances, domestic or abroad, can find their own place in the world.

I hope that we can, throughout the course of these posts, find our place in the world together.

This is part one in a series. Look for part two coming soon!

Gao Zhisheng Resurfaces, Acts Strangely

Gao Zhisheng
Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng suddenly called his friends and family yesterday, saying he had been released. This has come as quite a shock, given that just a few months ago he was “missing,” according to the authorities who were supposedly holding him. Many people, including us, took the odd officialspeak (that Gao “lost his way and went missing”) to mean that he had been secretly executed.

But Gao lives. According to the New York Times, he’s currently staying on Wutai Mountain, the famous Buddhist haven, though no one seems to know why.

In a brief phone interview on Sunday, Mr. Gao said that he was no longer in police custody but that he could not give any details of his predicament. “I’m fine now, but I’m not in a position to be interviewed,” he said from Wutai Mountain, the site of a well-known Buddhist monastery. “I’ve been sentenced but released.”

But from there, the story gets stranger. According to a conversation he had with Reuters, Gao has been released for six months — so he says — but no one, not even his wife, had heard from him until yesterday. Sina’s Hong Kong service and other Chinese news sites are reporting that Gao’s family and friends felt he sounded as though he was lying when he spoke to them. From Sina:

Human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, missing for over a year, suddenly gave family and friends phone calls yesterday. Although he said he had “already been released for half a year” and that he was at the famous Buddhist Wutai Mountain “because I want to spend some time in peace”, but his wife and the friends who talked to him all say he seemed “insincere,” and that his wording contradicted itself and [his wife and friends] suspected there was someone by his side watching him. This paper attempted to contact the number reported to be Gao’s, but the phone was turned off.

No one doubts the voice was really Gao, though; the story goes on to say that Gao’s wife “confirmed the person on the phone really was Gao Zhisheng.”

What, exactly is going on here? It seems like Gao may still be imprisoned, or at the very least, under strict surveillance. Otherwise, why would he wait six months after gaining his freedom before calling his wife? But the possibilities are nearly endless. I don’t claim to know what’s going on, but I sure wish I did, and I bet Gao’s family does, too.

Apologies to Alex Taggart for stepping on his new post, a translation of Ran Yunfei’s thoughts on domestic microblogging, which is excellent and can be found here.

Ran Yunfei: “Domestic Microblogs Exist to Die in Battle”

The following is a translation of a recent blog post from oft-censored activist Ran Yunfei. Having had his blogs on Tianya and Niubo shut down by web administrators for discussion of sensitive topics, Ran has taken to setting up as many blogs as possible (including an English-language blog, ‘Collection of a Gangster’s Words’) in a constant effort to stay one step ahead of the censors.

In this post, Ran talks about his feelings on microblogging, with a particular focus on the relationship between Twitter and the increasingly numerous Chinese microblogging services. He explains how the two can be used together to “demolish the tower of lies”.

Photo from shizhao (http://www.flickr.com/photos/shizhao/)

Translation

Ran begins by summarising the short history of microblogging in China:

Since the birth of ‘web 2.0’ age broadcasting tools like Twitter, the Chinese internet, which lacks creativity but has a definite ability for imitation, has rolled out Jiwai, Taotao, Zuosha and other such cloned products, and has put a lot of hard work into the rapid dissemination of all sorts of information […]. During the “Xinjiang July 5th matter” [when racial tensions caused rioting in the northwestern province], Fanfou’s broadcasting function suddenly exploded, and was met with the strong fist of repression, and died an honourable death, signifying that a re-shuffling of Chinese microblogging had arrived. The authorities’ repression of Fanfou made the internet latecomers […] realise the collective power of the popularity of microblogging. So, […] Sina, Sougou, QQ, Netease, People’s Daily Online and others rolled out their own microblogging services, and they all took a share of the spoils.

He goes on to identify the difficulties faced by domestic microblogs in comparison to Twitter:

[…] The stream of users on the BBS of each big website is gradually being split up by blogs and microblogs, the reason being that blogs and microblogs allow more freedom, and a bolder scale of expression. But following the arrival of the cold stream of total control of the Chinese internet, complete control and screening has caused the scale of speech and expression to suffer deep repression. Twitter’s biggest difference to domestic microblogging services lies in its lack of auditing [by any organisation other than itself], its [policy of] not deleting any posts, its real freedom of speech and multi-faceted opening up; it has realised unobstructed broadcasting to the utmost. When compared with Twitter, domestic blogging services don’t seem like web 2.0 age broadcasting tools; they can only be seen as deformities of the web 2.0 age.

Ran then lays out his method for avoiding censorship. He encourages Chinese microbloggers who are able to access Twitter to use it for the exchange and storage of information, and explains how domestic microblogs can be used to broadcast this information to the masses in China:

With Twitter being blocked [by the Chinese government], and domestic microblogs self-destructing, web 2.0-age broadcasting tools have suffered heavy difficulties, and people’s right to view online information freely has been greatly encroached upon. […] [Netizens’] method is to have a fixed Twitter account and, according to their own interests, publish and broadcast information to their hearts’ content, because it’s a headquarters for the retention of data and truth. At the same time, [netizens] apply for an account on a microblog on one of the many big [Chinese] websites, and send as many governmentally-blocked truths as possible onto a microblog that does not require them to scale the Great Firewall. They needn’t fear that [the truths] may be deleted by administrators, because they [also] have an account on the most stable place for the retention of truth. You could say that they can ‘attack by charging, defend by fleeing’ [a saying meaning ‘to have an advantageous position in battle’]. In theory, unless microblog administrators close down your IP, you can apply for domestic microblog services an unlimited number of times, resiliently continuing to broadcast the truth, putting your own effort into demolishing the tower of lies.

…he elaborates on the potential of this “trickle irrigation” method, and gives real-life examples of its successful use:

[…] Twitter and domestic microblogs do not broadcast in parallel, but are more like a sealed lake that is always full of water (sealed-off Twitter) trickling into dried-up earth (domestic microblogs) to irrigate it. If you open a little trickle, there will be a furious flood, and it will soon provoke restriction, which will lead to the crack being blocked. Of course, if only very few people ‘trickle-irrigate’, the [dried-up] earth is certain to crack up, so it’s necessary for more people to use all sorts of ways to broadcast all kinds of truth onto domestic microblogs, and to use the ‘trickle-irrigation’ method to allow the truth to remain on domestic microblogs for longer. This way, we can finally make all sorts of lies spun by [the government] collapse in on themselves. […] In my opinion, it would be best if we could amass popularity of domestic microblogs, and if we can’t amass popularity, netizens can make use of the ‘micro-power’ of this trickle-irrigation, and continue to send out all kinds of information that will benefit the truthful broadcasting of information.

[…] One evening around early March, many netizens found that any news sent about Ai Weiwei [an activist best known for compiling an independent investigation into the Sichuan earthquake death toll] relating to the earthquake was being deleted from Sina’s microblog service. So that night, a large group of netizens set up tens and hundreds of microblogs focussing on Ai Weiwei, and proceeded to publish blocked information, throwing the Sina microblog staff into panic for a while. […] At the March 19 Fuzhou public security authorities’ ‘premature ejaculation’ over the unbelievable ‘three netizens case’ [three netizens who published articles and video about the fatal rape of a young girl by police officers were accused of ‘false accusations against innocent parties’, but the trial was postponed because of demonstrations at the courthouse], some Twitterers went to the scene to publish instant news, and still more continued to re-tweet the news, and incessantly forwarded that information onto domestic microblogs, so that those ‘within the wall’ could understand the truth of this matter more clearly, and let more people know the unbelievable shamelessness of the Fuzhou public security authorities. When many “carriers” sent this information onto domestic microblogs, much was deleted or screened, and some [user accounts] were even closed because of those [messages] – death in battle. But even if your domestic microblog is lost in battle, you can apply for a new one, and continue to carry out a continual and tireless work of “freighting” from sealed-off Twitter to domestic microblogs. In my opinion, Twitter is a place for the broadcasting and storage of truth, and domestic microblogs are there to spread that truth, and to die in battle. The more times your blog account is lost, the greater your effort to spread the truth. […]

He concludes with a positive outlook on the future of interaction between Twitter and domestic microblog services, encouraging Chinese people to take advantage of the internet to transform society:

The internet is a big gift from God to the human race, especially to China, but it’s a shame that when confronted with this rich and multi-faceted gift, many people are at a loss as to what to do. Because Chinese people have never received such a good gift, it has made some people lose all curiosity for digging out the gift, [as well as] all exploratory spirit, and all creativity. That is to say, after being enslaved for a long time, they have even lost all desire, confidence, toughness and strength to cast off their rotten shackles. This is the Chinese people’s grief. When facing the constant progression of the internet, some people’s eyes are seeing just as ignorantly and as powerlessly as before. There’s no harm in cautiously believing that the transformative effect that the internet has brought to Chinese society has only just begun, and the curtain has only just opened on the interaction between Twitter and domestic blogs. The best scene is yet to come.

Welcome to the New ChinaGeeks

That’s right! Our three-hundredth post also happens to be the first post on our brand-new domain here at chinageeks.org. There are a lot of reasons for this move — first and foremost, search engine optimization — but you’ll notice that we’ve also done a bit of redecorating, and there are some new features on the site, with more coming in the coming days.

Don’t worry, we’ll get right back to the China-related goodness after this post, but for now, there are a few things you can do that would make us (me, especially) very, very grateful:

  1. UPDATE YOUR BOOKMARKS AND RSS READERS! ChinaGeeks’s URL has changed and so has our RSS feed. We don’t want to lose any readers in the transition, so please edit your bookmarks and RSS readers right now (you know you will forget if you put it off until later).
  2. Let us know what you think of the site, and what features you would like to see added. Specifically, I’m toying with the idea of bringing back post and comment ratings and I wonder what you all think of that; but other ideas and requests are very welcome as well.
  3. If you run a China blog please update your blogroll! This is a big thing for our SEO, and you’ll notice that our blogroll already has an up-to-date link to your blog…(if we don’t have your blog on the blogroll, shoot me an email at custerc at chinageeks.org and I will add it!)

That’s all for now. We look forward to hearing your comments! Once again, welcome (and thanks to everyone who replied saying the site is loading fine without a VPN all over China)!