Blame China

.. at least if you’re wondering where updates here disappeared to.  I’ve been in Beijing and Shanghai for much of the last month, and for some reason this entire site is blocked behind the Great Firewall of China.  Not sure why; it’s not like I’ve posted a gazillion things about Tian’anmen Square, Falun Gong, or Taiwan (although if their censor-bot just picks out flagged text, I’ve just made the site that much harder to reach).  But there it is.  Couldn’t update, couldn’t sneak in a back way and post a one-line note saying I couldn’t update, couldn’t even see the front page at all.

China is highly weird that way.  The massive, arbitrarily porous information wall is hard to make sense of — I could, for example, access the Wikipedia entries on Tian’anmen Square protests easily by typing in the URL, but searching with the term in some engines made the connection to the server instantly reset — and the effects are equally strange.  I don’t have time to say much, as I’m posting from a fairly shabby signal in Kowloon, Hong Kong at the moment, but there seems to be a whole generation in China who know virtually nothing about the 1989 protests, for example.  This would be harder to imagine if amnesia in the U.S. weren’t so pervasive, even with incomparably greater (if still flawed) media freedom.  But still: weird.

Short take just on the experience: Beijing, incredibly friendly, rich in history, would go again in a heartbeat.  Shanghai… um… I really liked Beijing.  Let’s say that.

ps I finally got a chance to pull that annoying auto-starting video off the front page.  That went up shortly before I lost access, and I didn’t realize it was auto-starting until I learned of it a couple of weeks later.  Must have been super-annoying for anybody popping back in more than once to see if anything had updated.  My apologies.