China clamps down on sites

Richard at Hong Kong Journal Redux reports that the Chinese government is now blocking access to “virtually all” sites. (Oddly, he seems to regard his inability to subject himself to my ranting as some sort of disadvantage. Takes all kinds, I suppose. De gustibus sure ain’t what she ustibus.)

As an expat recently relocated from Hong Kong to Beijing, Richard is in general less sanguine than the mainstream media both about the Chinese economic miracle and Chinese political liberalization. Apparently the Chinese government has decided to exert censorship over the internet, and (with the help of various Western contractors, competing as always to sell the rope) is doing a pretty good job of it.

I must say I’m impressed at their capacity to understand the threat that I, in particular, pose to them. Most of my American readers have completely failed to notice that my ceaseless assaults on “George W. Bush” are really directed at Hu Jintao. But I suppose reading between the lines is a more highly developed art in China than it is here.

One thing I don’t know is whether the Chinese thought police are prudes. Because some bloggers are fluent in one-syllable Anglo-Saxon, many of the nanny programs — including many of the programs used, as now required by law, in public libraries to protect children — reportedly filter out the entire domain. Could that be the problem in China?

Some of my readers who work for various federal agencies have also reported that they can’t access this weblog from work, which I assume also to be a problem based on naughty language. It would be too self-flattering to think that the Bushies had found it essential to their continuation in power that federal civil servants be unable to read my screeds during working hours.

Just for the record, I have nothing but contempt for any writer who can’t express disdain and indignation within the bounds of what used to be called Christian English. This is, after all, the exalted Blogosphere, not the wall of a bathroom stall in a bus depot. On the other hand, I think indiscriminate domain-level filtering is a stinking crock of sh*t, and the [expletive deleted]s who dreamed it up can go %#$% themselves.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: