Facebookish American befuddled by China’s internet censorship gets lectured by Chinese

September 29, 2011Jing Gao10 Comments, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

He is an American. He names himself Mike on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging service which combines features of Twitter and Facebook and has 90 million users. He has recently come to China. That’s all we know about him so far. An average Joe who loves and seeks adventure in the Middle Kingdom, just like tens of thousands of his fellow countrymen.

However, he gained fame overnight, at least on Sina Weibo, for guilelessly questioning the Great Firewall and becoming one of the shortest-lived Weibo users, after his account was snuffed out several hours after his first post was posted.

The fateful microblog post says: “Hello everyone. My name is Mike. I come from the United States. I have just arrived in Beijing. I want to get in touch with my family on Facebook, but I can’t get access to it. Is there any method?”

The post soon became a wildfire. The tech-savvy and the kind-hearted as well as the playful and the cynical flooded his microblog page. It was allegedly shared by over 10,000 users before the account was deleted by censors at Sina Weibo.


Below are a selection of comments on Sina Weibo documented by netizens of foresight that the post will be “harmonized.”

赤褐石: Do you know how to use VPN?


纹龙胸: Across the Great fire Wall, we can reach every corner of the world


@深南云浮 : (Option) A: go home! B: Climb the Wall


kenneth_wang_wei: Go to the police when having any problem.


多萝西-托托:Welcome to the Great China Intranet.


A级吃货: Overthrow our gov, and then you can log on to it.


yan-at-shanghai:Bro, now you’ve come to China, use QQ (Jing: Chinese IM tool), and Renren (Chinese facebook). And yes, make your American family learn it.


柚木天娜:According to our country’s relevant laws and regulations, your request cannot be answered.


anarchy_whale: If you cannot learn to climb the Great Fire Wall, you can only move all your families and friends to Weibo.


一莽夫:Two methods: 1, revolt together with us and found a democratic government. This puts things right once and for all and makes certain that next time you come to Beijing, Fa-Ce-Boo-K can still be accessible. (Jing: Facebook is a sensitive word that may or may not trigger the censorship apparatus. Chinese netizens use alternative ways to refer to it, as well as other sensitive words to dodge the bullet.)2, use proxy server or wall-climbing software such as Free Gate. (Thanks to the funds your government provides to Free Gate, we are enabled to learn a lot of truth.) This method saves time and costs little. But it can’t guarantee connectivity all the time.


難以啟齒的純潔: Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson: Abide by relevant Chinese laws in China. Make your family sign up for kaixin.com (Jing: Another Facebook copycat.)


@圮上者: It is the way it should be if you can’t access it. It means you really are in China.


曾健仁:Please go to Beijing Telecommunications University for Fang Binxing. (Jing: nicknamed Father of Great Firewall, Fang is the head engineer of the project.)


V-LiLLian:Climb the wall! Jump off from the window and squat at the corner of the wall, then you can access it.


我来我征服: You bunch of people are so unfriendly to our foreign friend. You just want to talk about money. Hem! //@垃垃lala: My foreign master, I will give you a mysterious software application. Just 49.98 dollars. //@莫呼洛迦:My foreign master, I will give you a mysterious software application. Just 49.99 dollars. //皮克蒙: My foreign master, I will give you a mysterious software application. Just 50 dollars.


青天白日旗再現:If your cellphone runs on an Android OS, please download PUFFTIN browser. You can access it without actual climbing.


@我女儿叫梁笑笑: I can lend you my carrier pigeon.


XeonivX:If you don’t want to violate the law, you can teach your families to use Renren. But it requires basic Chinese language tho…


一张板砖脸: Will it kill you to make a phone call?


排云出:It is indeed a helpless case. For maintaining stability, in China Fa-Ce-Boo-k is always inaccessible. Before we could access it by climbing the wall. Now October 1 the National Day is coming. China is hell-bent on blocking accesses. So even climbing the wall is not easy these days. But China has a Kaixin.com. It’s a knock-off version of Fa-Ce-Boo-K for maintaining stability. You can invite your family to play with it. Haha. I don’t know if you can understand all I have said? If not, please ask Chinese student around you to explain it.


哥知道你:Why do you come to China? You would even come to this rubbish place? In China there is only Intranet. No access to the web outside. We can’t get information from the outside. Coming to China means you can only be a frog at the bottom of the well, only able to have a narrow view of the sky! I suggest that you go back to America! The gutter oil, the 70 mph (Jing: referring to rampant, reckless speed-driving by the wealthy and their children that have killed a number of civilians and made national news) in China may even make you inexplicably disappear. In a nutshell, the Heavenly Kingdom is very dangerous!


不装A不装C:Why do you access Fa-Ce-Boo-K? Should watch Xinwen Lianbo (Jing: CCTV prime time news), People’s Daily and Global Times more. Then you can have a taste of the superiority of living in socialism.


yanwuyo:Thank you for testing our Intranet. It proves our taxpayers’ money is not wasted. Since it’s your first time to be here, just be happy-go-lucky. This effect is hard-earned. Why would you, an American, access a website of your America, in our China? You definitely want to kick up a fuss and grab the attention of those unwitting people. I, on behalf of Chinese taxpayers who aspire to live in Intranet peacefully, would like to express my slightest protest to you.


蓝岭飞鸟-嘻哈之城: Is this laowai (Jing: neutral harmless slang for foreigners) dumb? Why access Fa-Ce-Boo-k in the heavenly kingdom? Please watch Xinwen Lianbo. One touch leads to the world. Oh Yeah! Wait, let me check my Alipay account and see if there is a 50 cents wire-transfer. (Jing: 50 cents is a derogatory term for those hired by the government to make pro-Communist comments on the internet and paid 50 cents for each comment. The blogger suggests that, by singing praises for CCTV News just now, he will be rewarded with 50 cents by the internet police.)
@摄影师祝宜力Facebook, in the Heavenly Kingdom, it’s “Gotta oughta die.” (Jing: Facebook is often transliterated into Chinese as “has-to-die.” (Fei Si Bu Ke, 非死不可)


@小困君: Hurry up and travel back to where you were in time. We have been stuck in 1997 here.


@威廉出没注意IX:Have quietly saved this post…


@殁地坎: What Fa-Ce-Boo-k? There is no such thing as Fa-Ce-Boo-K! Which unit do you come from?


@Ciscogeek:Convert your family to Communism and sign up for Sina Weibo. Then problem solved.


@Tails之魂: I can only say, what kind of craziness have driven you here?


@FreeDroid :My boy, if you don’t know enough, then don’t come to China.


@专业起哄:I suggest that you call the U.S. Embassy in China and urge them to solve this problem. If you succeed, Chinese people will remember you.


@XT小天: This place is nicknamed Western Korea.


@LEE-Imagine :Haha, make your entire family sign up for Renren.com. Maybe you can find your first love.


@于皓:They are thoughtful. China has a huge population. They are afraid that the server you guys own cannot handle it.


@-赤阑桥- :My dear, you have come to the wrong country. This is a utopia with no Fa-Ce-Boo-K or Twitter!

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10 comments to “Facebookish American befuddled by China’s internet censorship gets lectured by Chinese”

  1. Jay K. | September 30, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    this is hilarious! jing thanks again for this awesome news!

  2. Heh | September 30, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Great post. Does Weibo allow non-Chinese IPs to sign up? Perhaps we need more Americans asking about Facebook.

    • Obaiki | September 30, 2011 | Permalink Reply

      Any IPs is fine is it doesn’t have to be a Chinese IPs to sign up all.

  3. Augis | October 10, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    For the sake of experiment I created an account on Tencent Weibo.
    Wonder if the censorship on it is more lax than on Sina Weibo?

    • Jing Gao | October 14, 2011 | Permalink Reply

      Censorship may be more lax on tencent, but discussion/debate there is also lukewarm.

  4. [...] fenti kép a Ministry of Tofu blogról származik, melyen a szerző, Jing Gao a Weibóról, Kína igen népszerű, a Twitterhez [...]

    • Maarten | November 21, 2012 | Permalink Reply

      The problem with China is their need to bcanale the required skills needed to sustain economic growth against the statist system that simultaneously is responsible for bringing so many out of poverty. As it develops, China’s leadership will need to loosen restrictions on information in order to advance and sustain a 21st century information economy in tertiary sectors. Until then, I fear repression and limitation of free speech will persist. Organizations like your are necessary in places like China now more than ever.

  5. LinuxWolf | October 26, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    I’m sad about the answers for the question about this (for sure naive) American guy. But all the answers do not consider one thing:
    Any chinese – and i can underline this – any chinese Person can access in Europe or North America his favorit Website in China without any restriction.
    Why an american guy cannot do it vise versa in China?


  6. Advies geld lenen | November 17, 2011 | Permalink Reply

    Magnificent points altogether, you simply won a emblem new reader. What may you recommend about your submit that you made some days in the past? Any sure?

  7. [...] (Blog posted by Ministry of Tofu on September 29, 2011 by Jing Gao. You can see the original article by following this link to Ministry of Tofu) [...]

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