China’s ‘First Blogger’ on Censorship, Creativity and Dissent

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In this clip from CNN, Kristie Lu Stout interviews Isaac Mao, a pioneering blogger, about Internet censorship in China. The video pretty much speaks for itself, though I’d like to draw out one simple but important point.

Many believe that the Internet is “blocked” in China. As my colleague Austin Ramzy has shown, that is only partly true. Some sites are blocked outright, yes, and some searches turn up empty. But the uncensored Chinese language web is vast and varied, and netizens are always finding new ways to scale the ‘Great Firewall.’

“We can do a lot of things with that kind of tough environment, because people find many creative ways to do it. If they cannot talk about ‘Jasmine’ they can talk about the tea of jasmine in some ways,” says Mao in the video.  “It is that kind of creativity, people find their niches to try and bypass the censorship system.”

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