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Creator of China's Great Firewall Pelted With Shoes 220

Hugh Pickens writes "The Guardian reports that Chinese police are seeking a man who said he threw eggs and shoes at the architect of China's 'great firewall', the world's most sophisticated and extensive online censorship system as his claims were cheered by many internet users, in a reflection of growing anger among them about increasingly stringent controls. The office of Fang Binxing, known as the father of the great firewall, denied the attack had happened, but Associated Press said police were sent to the university to investigate a shoe-throwing incident targeting Fang, citing an officer at the Luojiashan public security bureau. The Twitter user who claimed to have pelted him, who posts under the pseudonym @hanunyi, wrote: 'The egg missed the target. The first shoe hit the target. The second shoe was blocked by a man and a woman.' Earlier this year Fang closed a microblog within days of opening it after thousands of Chinese internet users left comments, almost all of them deriding him as 'a running dog for the government' and 'the enemy of netizens'. Meanwhile admirers of the shoe attacker showered the anonymous young man with promises of everything from Nike trainers to replace his lost footwear, to iPads, sex and jobs."
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Creator of China's Great Firewall Pelted With Shoes

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  • Amusing... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by __Paul__ ( 1570 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:45PM (#36212534) Homepage

    ...why not do the same to the people who have been restricting all their other freedoms, too?

  • by Sierran ( 155611 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @07:59PM (#36212618)

    At least the Chinese do something about it. Unlike Americans who sit down watching tv and drinking beer and bitching on slashdot (and never doing anything about it) while their government [] not only censors [] their internet connections [], but the whole worlds [].

    This is why Americans are so fucking hypocrites. Do whatever you want on your own land, but leave rest of the world alone. We don't want your bullshit around here in Europe, and the rest of the world.

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't approve of censoring the internet for any reason. Nor do I approve of the U.S. government's record on IP-related enforcement *or* electronic freedoms. However, I should note that your angry objection is overwhelmingly colored by the fact that all of your links seem to point to a single source - - and all seem to involve actions taken during IP related seizures and enforcement. I realize that in your anger, you won't be able to separate me from the IP apologists, but I appeal to your cooler-headed colleagues of the copyleft movement and its ilk. Understand that a clumsy and self-centered attempt at comparison like this - IP enforcement to the Great Firewall - just makes you and your cause (which I mostly agree with), self-centered, and not too bright.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, it sounds like you're comparing the effects of the Great Firewall on the citizens/netizens of China to the effects on you, somewhere (as you say) other than America, can't download bittorrents.

    That demeans the struggle that the Chinese are undertaking.

    Suck it up.

  • by retroworks ( 652802 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:24PM (#36212742) Homepage Journal
    The Guardian and others are in a tough spot, as print journals have less and less income and are trying to cover bigger and bigger stories (like... China). While the event posted here may or may not have happened, a blogger I read regularly, Adam Minter ( has made mincemeat of almost every such story I've read in the western media during the past two years (latest case, that China censored Bob Dylan's concert there - apparently not, but the story was reprinted extensively). I've travelled a lot in China, often with officials, and would say that most Chinese government officials are as far from the source of censorship itch as we are here on /. I don't know if the answer is for the West to stop reporting on "twitter posts" by people who claim to have "thrown shoes" at "firewalls", and I personally know the Chinese government "command and control" is awful and stupid and a painful thing to watch... Still, having read dozens of these stories, I think we need to expose that (a) the Western Press often does not know what it is talking about and (b) is just as often making it up as it goes along.
  • by ddewey ( 774337 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:34PM (#36212804) Homepage

    I'm an American who has lived in China for 7 years.

    Most ordinary people in China believe the firewall is only for blocking pornography and dangerous information from terrorists. They don't believe political discussion is being blocked. In fact, there are many blogs and social networking sites in China full of political discussion, which are of course censored, but it is only a few sensitive topics that will be removed, so most users will never notice the censorship.

    From the comments in this thread, it seems like most US internet users (even the savvy users on Slashdot) likewise believe that US web censorship is only for blocking IP infringement, and never for censoring political discussion.

    So it would seem that Chinese and US internet users are equally misinformed and complacent about their own governments' internet censorship.

  • by Posting=!Working ( 197779 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:47PM (#36212864)

    You're right, you don't want American bullshit in Europe.

    You apparently want China's bullshit in Europe, since the EU's Law Enforcement Work Party just proposed a version of the great firewall for Europe. []

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <> on Sunday May 22, 2011 @08:54PM (#36212890)

    The main difference is the way censorship is theoretically justified. In China, the government is allowed to block content based on the message, while in the US, the government is allowed to block content based on the source. Of course, you'd be an idiot to believe such power is not abused, regardless of how it is done.

    I think most slashdotters are aware that such abuses exist, since you see articles about them posted on the main page every so often. I also believe that most Chinese who concern themselves with such matters are also aware of the problem (hence this news article).

    Perhaps one area of confusion is that in the US much censorship is done by psuedo-governmental organizations like the RIAA, or telecoms, or facebook, etc. . . which are not, in name, a part of the government but in reality have deep government ties.

  • Re:Unfortunate... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Sunday May 22, 2011 @09:19PM (#36213030)
    See the US at various times. We've put Japanese in concentration camps (though they don't like to call them that any more after the implications from the German camps). We've shot non-violent protesters on numerous occasions going back over a hundred years. The Chinese, like the US, generally believe in their country. And, as happens in the US, that results in seeing what their government and society is doing through rose colored glasses. The main reason the US is the supreme world power isn't that there's anything inherently better about us. It's just that the major world powers fought two wars in about 20 years on the home soil of those major world powers, with only the US spared any damage to infrastructure or industry. But it's been long enough that the US has lost the "lead" it had and that people have believed that it's something we are inherently that gives us the advantage, and not the fact that Germany, England, Japan, etc. were bombed and bled for two wars in rapid secession, giving the upstart Americans a lead in industrialization (and a firm boost out of the Great Depression).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 22, 2011 @10:41PM (#36213464)

    To compare US and Chinese internet censorship as being alike is frankly absurd.

    I also live in China.

    I have colleagues who've had blog posts automatically removed because they mentioned the nobel piece prize. A major online technical computer discussion forum getting taken offline, because someone posted how to make a proxy on it. A blanket ban on searches for temperature (same as wen jiabao's name). A singificant number of taiwanese goverment agencies are blocked, including the statistics bureaux, national museums, etc. You need a VPN to make the internet usable and a significant number of native non-technical chinese users use them. Since the troubles in the middle east, international traffic has been appalling to the extent of unusable.

    Companies are now getting forced to register their IP addresses for VPN connections, due to fear of the Jasmine revolution. Even mentioning that word can get you in bother.

    The censorship in China significantly affects people's lives. As much as I'm sure some political internet censorship exists in the US and other western countries, the degree is far less significant, and in general the effects can be openly discussed.

Things equal to nothing else are equal to each other.