This week commemorations are occurring worldwide in observance of the Tiananmen Square protests and massacres of 1989. With the rise of Flickr and Twitter used for social justice, many digital activists wonder out loud if the now famed events would have transpired differently had social media tools been around 20 years ago. Clearly, the Chinese government knows the power of cyber-activism, as they have blocked most Internet social networks and foreign newspapers in the country ahead of the anniversary. Although there is an online blackout in China, activists still find ways to get their messages of protest out.
Twitter has been blocked for the last two days, nonetheless, users worldwide have been using the hashtag #fuckGFW (Great FireWall of China) to express their outrage at the online blocking. Chinese blogger Xavier Lur said on his website TechXav that the Chinese officials created the drastic blockade to not only protect national security and prevent anti-government content from being seen, but it may have also been economics.
Without blocking Google, Baidu cannot success. Without blocking Wikipedia, Hoodong cannot success. Without blocking Blogger, Blogcn cannot success. Without blocking YouTube, Youku cannot success. These huge International Internet Companies do not pay taxes to China Government, but the Internet Companies in China do pay taxes. The Chinese government wants to make more bucks, so and to boost their GDP. Also, they want to “protect” China websites and hence blocking successful International websites.
“Ellen” (she asked to not have her real name used) is a Chinese college student and blogger who was only a toddler twenty years ago. She says that as much as the Chinese government tries to block the Internet, they will eventually realize that censorship will increasingly be hard to regulate as more people get connected.
“The revolution is happening in cyberspace,” she said. “If Tiananmen happened today, the government wouldn’t be able to suppress anger towards them around the globe. I might not see YouTube or read blogs in Beijing, but someone else can in Singapore, in Cairo, in Nairobi, in Rio, in London, in New York. My country is fighting an uphill battle, and it needs to put up their white flag.”