Breaking Through The Internet Blocking In Mainland China
The following is the translation of an opinion piece by Jiao Guobiao. The more interesting part is in the last three paragraphs about a new theory that advocates "unfair and unbalanced" media. (Note: Fox News has copyrights and trademarks to protect their use of the term "fair and balanced")
[Technical note: Abbreviations and asterisks have been used in the following translation, because the historical experience has been that the original words may trigger filtering.]
(Apple Daily; also New Century Net) Breaking Through The Internet Blocking In Mainland China. By Jiao Guobiao, former associate professor of the School of Journalism and Communications, Peking University. May 8, 2006.
May 3 is International Free Press Day. On May 3 last year, I was in Washington DC attending the commemorative meeting organized by international press organizations and I provided testimony about the lack of press freedom in China. This year, on May 3, I want to write a few words to thank the FLG group for their contributions towards promoting press freedom in China.
A while ago, I was dining at Peking University with a veteran news worker who has been in China, the United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She said that she has been vexed recently and no longer wanted to stay in China. I asked why and she said in a complaining tone: "I can't visit overseas websites! China is crazy. They block this and they won't let you read that. It is so frustrating." She had been stationed in Beijing for many years as a foreign correspondent. This year, she quit her reporter's job and accepted a teaching position at Peking University. I was curious: "Then ... why don't you use Ultra*reach or Free*gate?" "I've been using them, but I don't know why they have not been working recently." I smiled and said: "Oh! You can't say that you don't want to live in China for a trivial thing like that. Let me give you a new version and that should do it."
Ultra*reach and Free*gate are two pieces of computer software. Through either one of them, one can break through the Internet blocking in mainland China and enter the real global Internet. Presently on the mainland, any Chinese person entering overseas websites will go through Ultra*reach or Free*gate. Foreigners may have more means but the most economical and simple way is to go through Ultra*reach and Free*gate. Among all the media, the Internet is the most free. But in China, without Ultra*reach or Free*gate, the free nature of the Internet cannot be experienced. It can be said that unless you use Ultra*reach or Free*gate, the Internet-era China has no press freedom just as in the pre-Internet-era. With Ultra*reach or Free*gate, the Chinese people are at least as free as the Americans in the Internet world.
So Ultra*reach and Free*gate are very important, and the important Ultra*reach and Free*gate were invented by technical people who practice FLG. The Internet firewall set up by the Chinese authorities was broken through, and the state of information about current affairs was changed in mainland China. Although the amount of information on the global Internet is voluminous, most Chinese people can only read information written in Chinese. But the readable information, especially news and political information, is very limited. Within the limited news and political information, FLG's DJY, NTDTV and SoH Radio have the most information on their websites. There are two types of overseas news information websites, one type is about opinions and the other types is about information. When mainland Chinese visit the so-called overseas websites, where do they go? What do they read? They go mainly to FLG websites such as DJY in order get information whose contents, viewpoints and positions are completely different from People Net, Xinhua Net, Sina.com, Sohu.com and others.
Most of the news information and political commentary published in the FLG media come from mainland China, so this is equal to providing a platform of free press for mainland Chinese people. The information and opinions that they offer cannot be published on mainland Chinese websites. Some people criticize the FLG media for only saying bad things about the Communist Party and they don't understand the principle of balance in journalism. Actually, there are three levels of balance in practice. When an article contains the opinions of both sides, this is micro-level balance. When a media entity reports the opinions of both sides over the long run, this is middle-level balance. When a country allows all sorts of media of different positions, viewpoints and backgrounds to legally exist so as to sound their own horns and sing their own tunes, this is macro-level balance.
Within the mainland Chinese press, none of these three levels of balance exist. Therefore, even if the FLG media "only say bad things about the Communist Party," they still cannot balance all the good things that People Daily, CCTV and other mainland Chinese media say about the Communist Party. Therefore, when the principle of balance was said to be broken, it was not because the FLG media only say bad things about the Chinese Communists but because all the mainland Chinese media say good things about the Chinese Communists.
A Radio Free Asia reporter told me that the people in the media circle in Washington DC hold them in contempt and say that they are not reporters because their media do not adhere to the principle of balance. I say: "This proves that the Washington DC reporters are dogmatists. They are pedants who don't understand China and they don't understand balance. Balance ends ultimately with the receiving audience, and the mainland Chinese receiving audience are missing negative information about mainland China. Therefore, your mission is to provide negative information about mainland China and so you are following the principle of balance. Balance does not mean that each media entity has to be balanced like God. It is about the media putting their balanced freedom equally and legally together. Balance is the result of the imbalances of everybody."