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Blogging in China -- Isaac Mao Interview
Alex Steffen, 21 Mar 05

Ally and Global Vocalist Rebecca MacKinnon interviews Chinese blogger Isaac Mao on the latest crackdown in Chinese cyberspace. Worth reading:

Rebecca: So isn’t Blogbus [Isaac’s blog hosting service] also subject to government requirements that it must block keywords and filter content?

Isaac: In China, there are already serveral thousands of independant blogs linked with independant domain name the blogger like. However, it is only about 1-2% of the total blogosphere size. Most of the blogs still hosted in centralized blog service providers. That’s why some said there are only serval ‘blogs’ in China. What we are trying to do is to help people set up their own blog site with an affordable price. Actually, many bloggers wants to have such site if he/she blogs over one year. To those centralized blog hosting services, they have to choose “self-policing” between “free speech” and “self-policing”, no exception. But in some ways, they are also good to help people to learn what’s blog initially.

Although setting up an independant blog site is not easy to common users, I found more and more users seek helps from peers to build their own blog site now, either hosted in China or overseas. I’m talking with some local entrepreneurs here on how to help those bloggers to set up independant blog site without pain. Although ISPs are also controlled by government for sure, the mass distributed content is more difficult to be blocked once a time like SMTH BBS.

Rebecca: How can people outside China help with this?

Isaac: Good question. I think bloggers do need outside support at this moment. It may even be a turning point to change the direction of online arena, then to the whole society in China.

For more on these issues, ally Xiao Chang's China Digital Times is also a great resource. Then too, check out this essential explanation of the nature of the censorship.

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