Thinking about Moving to China? Blogging and Censorship

Matt | Blogging in China,Censorship | Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Continuing on with questions about moving to China, here are a few more of them you might want to ask or answer before you come.

9. What are the facts about censorship? Facebook? YouTube? Blogger?  I am a blogger myself and I need to blog.

As a writer and user of information in China, the “Great Firewall of China”, can be frustrating and uncomfortable. This discomfort stayed with me during my time in China and it was one of the things that reminded me of where I was living.

Starting with blogging, as this seems close to your heart (and mine), this should be fine. The only trouble I found was that you cannot seem to use the free blog sites such as Blogspot or WordPress to host your site. I discovered this when I first started. The blogs hosted on free sites, such as Blogspot, are unable to open while you are in China. I think this goes for Blogger as well. In order for you to blog in China, you need to pay for hosting, such as DreamHost, and get your own domain name. After that, blogging should not be an issue for you.

There are lots of blogs in and around China that are thriving. In my links section there are some great sites I like to read and they discuss some important issues. Interestingly, the site Peking Duck recently spoke of an example of the censorship and of rewriting history. I thought it was an impressive and timely article for this question.

As for YouTube and Facebook, as far as I know these are blocked. This is quite frustrating. Another site that is blocked in China is Wikipedia. This was a little annoying, but when I came back to Canada the first thing I would do was jump back into these sites. For the most part I wasn’t a big user of these sites, so these limitations did not bother me. The issue of blocking sites gets more intense and personal when my methods of communicating get severed. Reading about sites such as Skype getting blocked would concern me heavily as that is how I call between Canada and China.

Overall, the level of control over information was a little discomforting for me, but one is definitely able to blog in China. Living in a controlled environment was a little awkward at first.  Although in moving and living in a new culture experiencing differences is to be expected and is part of the journey.

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