Thursday, 4 June 2009

THE CLICK FIVE: “Happy Birthday”

At first, I thought I might have written something offensive. Or perhaps, without knowing, I had captured a national secret on one of my pictures of a trip I made to the middle country. Should I feel honoured, that the fruit of my labour had been discovered by the censorship committee? Or should I feel angry, that this same committee prevented me from tapping into a potential reader’s market of more than 1 billion people?
I really didn't know what to think when I tried to access my blog when I was in China earlier this week, and got the message that the site was not accessible. I tried several times, but the result always ended up being the same.

Only when I read the paper in the plane on the way back home did I find out that I was not to blame: my weblog was not the only one being censored. Temporarily. At least, I hope so. All kinds of blog-hosts are currently inaccessible, just like hotmail, and even You Tube seems to be closed down from March already.

Anyway, it’s a lesson in humility: no Chinese official has probably ever read my thoughts, nor has he looked at my photos of his own beautiful and mysterious country, which I truly respect. A recent holiday trip to Yunnan province has made this feeling only more profound.

There’s more than a billion of birthdays in China each year, but only one is not celebrated. If you ask me, it need not be. Just like we don't celebrate the birthday of a person who has passed away, a country needs not commemorate something that is long dead. The whole world knows that a powerful and attractive giant was born in the past few decades. Censorship for a few days now only draws attention to a demon we all know the giant has long beaten.

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