Most of the western world knows that the Chinese government are oppressive, and that the internet, for example, is severely censored. Large numbers of key words, like democracy and freedom, are banned on the Chinese internet network, so whenever a person within China tries to access a website with any of the banned keywords in them, they get the 'usual' page can not be displayed error. Most Chinese people think that the internet is full of websites that just don't work, and they remain blissfully ignorant.
I was chatting briefly with one of my 'fans' today, a 17 year old Chinese girl, who had stumbled upon my online journal some months ago. We've been sharing the occasional hello for the pas maybe year. Anyway, today she told me that she hasn't been able to get to my journal since I upgraded it to this one, and she's surprised that she can't get to any blogger.com sites at all. Suspecting what the problem was, I did a quick Google search and discovered a news website talking about the Chinese government blocking the entire domain of blogger.com because they didn't like the fact that one blog was listing a bunch of anonymous proxy servers, which the Chinese could use to bypass their internet restrictions. And so they banned the entire domain from being visible in China. I pointed this information out to her, and was actually surprised that she could read that particular site. Anyway, she was sorry she couldn't see any blogs, and then she changed the subject.
We all know about Tiananmen Square, where many hundreds of students were killed by the Chinese government in 1989, simply for protesting. This was censored in China, of course. I remember a couple of years ago taking out this Chinese girl in Wellington, and during our conversation at one point, we talked about Tiananmen Square. It was her belief that the student protest was negligible, and that the students were simply dispersed by police after getting 'boisterous'. When I pointed out to her that there were actually hundreds of students killed and thousands injured by the Chinese army, she didn't believe me. She was adamant that I was wrong, and that if there was 'evidence' to support this 'false story', then it was anti-Chinese propoganda created by Western government.
It was my very first experience at having a discussion with someone who was completely and absolutely brainwashed into believing what their government told them, with a refusal to question anything, and a complete inability to have at least an open mind about the possibility that what they thought they knew could be wrong. It was the Western world against China, and China was the good guy.
I felt sorry for her, and billions of others like her. I didn't see her again after that. I think she felt I was a bad influence on her.
I just don't understand how anyone could possibly think I'd be a bad influence on them…
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