Thursday, March 01, 2007

OffalNews blocked in China

It turns out that if you happened to be traveling in China and wanted to check for the latest musings on OffalNews you'd be out of luck.

That's because OffalNews has been deemed by the government of China too dangerous for general public viewing.*

I'd like to say that it's personal, that I somehow offended the Beijing powers-that-be with some scathing post. I'd get some comfort if I knew it was because when I was there in 1984 that I had picked a fight with some lackey who has now risen to a position to get me back.

I would be proud of the fact that I was considered sufficiently dangerous and subversive to billions of Chinese and the oldest civilization in the world to merit this special treatment if only that was the case.

Alas, it's not personal at all.

It turns out it's just a manifestation of the Great Firewall of China. This firewall is a government policy and programme to make sure that certain classes of websites (ie western news media sources and blogs) and certain internet search engine keywords (ie democracy or Tienamen Square) are systematically blocked or redirected.

The idea is to prevent access to these sites, information and ideas by computers and people within China.

That's what happens when you have a government determining what lines one can cross.

If you want to test which of your favourite sites can be viewed by the billions of Chinese who might want to, see


I was wondering why my hit counter wasn't reflecting the billions of page views that it should be - now I know why.

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