Dear China, Was It Something I Said?

fe37f-prcflagOkay, it’s a rather convoluted little story. A friend on Facebook posted a link to a news story from a political blog. I clicked to read it and found myself at The McCarville Report, written by veteran Oklahoma reporter Mike McCarville. For a long time, his blog has said at the top, “banned in Red China.”

In a moment of curiosity, I decided to check. I went to Google China, and surprise, his site came up. It wasn’t blocked. Oh, wait. What’s that? “.hk,” you say? That’s good, I’ve been redirected to Google Hong Kong. Well, that’s a little different. Now I was really curious. A quick Google US search led me to a site that tests the so-called “Great Firewall of China.” It confirmed that his site was blocked in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou, while it was available in Hong Kong and the US.

“Wow!” I thought. “What does someone have to do to get his blog banned in China?”

Apparently the answer is “nothing.” I know this because I decided, again out of curiosity, to check my blog. To my surprise, I too am banned in the People’s Republic of China. Just to double check, I ran a quick search on Baidu.com, which, I am told, is the most popular search engine in the PRC. Again, I found nothing.

I haven’t attacked China in my blog—I have a deep fascination with and fondness for China, its culture, its history, and its people. I certainly don’t endorse the Falun Gong cult. I haven’t used my blog as a platform for statements opposing the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang (although…). And I’m probably the only one in America who watches CCTV on a semi-regular basis; certainly I’m the only one I know of.

Surely it couldn’t be a blanket ban of free-speech-oriented, user-generated-content sites like Blogger, or censorship of sites with Christian content. No, that’s impossible. The Constitution of the People’s Republic of China guarantees freedom of speech and religion in Chapter 2, Articles 35 and 36, respectively. If it’s not political or religious censorship (and it can’t be), I don’t understand.

That leaves me with the question, “China, why don’t you like me? Was it something I said?”

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