Margaret E. Roberts: Censored: Distraction and Diversion Inside China’s Great Firewall
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The art of censorship has always been an act of reduction. It is an art practiced by bureaucrats and authoritarian regimes on work by others to create a pastiche of the larger culture that reflects how those in power wants it to be perceived rather than how it is. In America we have a history of people banning books to deny ideas that are already part of the culture. School boards ban books that involve teen sexuality and drug use in an attempt to deny issues that already exist. And those bans have always created protest.
Then came the Internet. With its multiple entry points to the stream of information and no real oversight by government agencies, the Internet provided what felt like transparency and access to the flow of information. The early adopters of web technologies reveled in the ability to share “hidden’ information over a network that was built to withstand any attempts at shutting it down. The only action a government could do was to cut all access for the entire country,...