China is a hard country to live in, especially if you are a free speech enthusiast. China has this great firewall that pretty much filters everything it wants to. Nothing goes out and nothing comes in without China wanting it, or so it seems.
China takes every possible step in censoring any form of content that harms the Government’s interests. Enter Tiananmen into any form of online search in China and you will see a message announcing the ban of the content. However, clever Chinese microbloggers found a way around this ban, and the solution is geeky.
CNN reports this as,
Type the words “Egypt,” “Tiananmen” or “June 4th, 1989” into any of China’s microblogging sites and the search will return this message: “According to relevant law and regulations, the results are not displayed.”
But type in “8×8” — shorthand for 64, in turn shorthand for 6/4 or June 4th; the date of the Tiananmen crackdown — and you may catch some lively and surprisingly open exchanges on the social networking sites.
Either this, or, as a Chinese microblogger hints that the government has grown a bit weary about activities that try to bypass the effect of the firewall, and is ignoring them now. Some top government officials, including the Chinese President himself, have their own microblogs and this is indicative of acceptance from the Government. The last time we heard such a bypass of the Firewall, it was by an open source mail protocol.
What is worth noting here is that either way, people win. This is groundbreaking considering it is China we are talking about.