You will notice that I am starting to disguise some people’s names on my blog. The reason is that after I posted the first of my pieces on Bible Running in mainland China, I became aware of how dangerous blogging can be in China. My mother gave me a copy of this article from the LA Times about how teachers killed a student because his father had posted articles critical of the government on the internet.
While I do not think that my innocent story of being tailed in China in 1983 is offensive, I am a little worried about how it might be taken in China if it comes to the attention of the authorities. This is not impossible because at least one of my followers accesses the internet through Yahoo China. I have read a number of recent news articles and blog posts about new Chinese technology for finding “objectionable” internet material like the one at the link below.
I have lost contact with a number of my friends from Taiwan, but since I know that many Taiwanese do business in China I am being very careful not to put anything on my blog that might inadvertently harm someone. I would hate it if someone I knew 25 years ago got in trouble today just because I told an old story about something I did when I was young and foolish, something that was entirely unrelated to them. So from now on, I am only showing face pictures of people who do not go to China often unless they have US citizenship. If I am not sure what someone is doing now, I am keeping them as private as I can.
On another note, the Global Online Freedom Act has been introduced in Congress annually for several years now, but it never makes it out of committee. Most of us Americans are so used to having freedom of speech that we have a hard time wrapping our minds around the idea that careless words can result in the death and / or imprisonment of others. Here is a link to the text of the 2008 version of the bill. I am new to blogging and don’t really know how to harness the power of the blogosphere, but if you read this and it strikes a chord, please pass it on. One of my Chinese friends, who works for human rights in China and online freedom of expression, was told by a human rights attorney that he should not expect the Global Online Freedom Act to be introduced in Congress this year because America will not want to offend China during the global economic crisis. I was quite happy to see that our new administration stopped using torture and ordered the Guantanamo prison camp closed before even trying to touch the economy. I would hope America will do what is right with regard to this issue, even it if it is not what is expedient.
If you haven't read Part Two of my Bible Running story, keep scrolling down. I made two posts today because I felt this disclaimer was important.