Posted July 2, 2008 12:08 am by with 29 comments

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By Frank Reed.

Leave it to bloggers to find a way around censorship.

On the heels of the Olympic Games in Beijing riots broke out in the Guizhou province of China over the death of a teenager according to the Wall Street Journal. While the Chinese government worked hard to prevent this from becoming a political and PR black eye before they parade themselves on the world stage that is the Olympic Games bloggers appear to have gotten the best of them.

In order to beat China’s Internet censors, which often are employees of commercial ISP’s (take that free Internet proponents!) bloggers have started to post in ways that cannot be easily tracked like writing their posts backwards. Nice move!

The Chinese government acknowledges that their Net community is pretty sharp and seems to always find ways around the government’s Great Firewall. China has little patience for anyone who wants to exercise free speech especially with the onset of the Olympics. Recently a four year prison sentence was handed down to a blogger for his posts on an overseas dissident website (check out the site in all its Chinese character beauty). There have been 24 cases in 2008 alone of arrests and/or imprisonment for reporting on events in China.

Even Twitter is being used to by folks to get the true story out to the public. Servers hosted outside of China are used as well and sophisticated methods to allow people inside of China to access blogs are used regularly.

So next time you gripe about how the Google cat and mouse game is wreaking havoc with your search marketing just relax and remember that most of the readers of Marketing Pilgrim don’t sit under the threat of imprisonment. When Google rolls out GoogleCops we can all worry a bit but until then enjoy your freedom and maybe say a prayer for the people who are risking more than just rankings.

* Read the post title backwards–we’re sneaky, just like Chinese bloggers! 😉

About Frank Reed

Frank Reed is a partner at bnr marketing in Raleigh, NC. bnr provides SEO, PPC and blog marketing services.  In addition, bnr produces SEO tools like SEMCheck for the search marketing industry. Frank’s blog on internet marketing is at

  • That’s a great idea — and on their website, they could even have some Javascript that users could click to reverse the content order. For that matter, it could be encrypted content, then decrypted via Javascript.

    I wonder how long China’s going to be able to control their side of the “world”-wide web.

    Zack Katz’s last blog post..Denver web hosting ? we?re making the switch to reselling

  • As a Chinese, I just want to say that we have a really bad year, which makes us all sad.

    康爷’s last blog post..今夜,星光为西班牙灿烂

  • Good call Zack Katz. T answer your question “I wonder how long China’s going to be able to control their side of the world wide web?” Im not sure it will be too long.

  • Pretty wild stuff. Interesting reporting.

    It would be interesting to get some day to day from bloggers that reside inside of China. To bad they’re so tricky 🙂 lol

    Just kidding. It would be cool to get the insiders view on how things are going. Such as 康爷, I’m wondering what was meant by the comment “As a Chinese, I just want to say that we have a really bad year, which makes us all sad.” elaborate?

    Erik’s last blog post..Wanna Buy Some Blogs?

  • I think 康爷 meant that the last year was especially hard for bloggers. You know what? It’s terrible. I don’t consider absolutely freedom as good too, but China did evil, living in such country bloggers should thanks for the ability to connect to Internet.

  • because of the earthquake..and the Olympics touch issue…Although we need human right, we need a stable China first.

  • Let them achieve a stable China and then there will be the time for internet issues

  • This is amazing stuff indeed. How ingenious! Viva the blogsphere. The Chinese establishment may change sooner than later!

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  • Internet/Speech censorship and human rights violations are both big contributors to a destabilized society. It is sad to see this in a country that is expanding its middle class by leaps and bounds.

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  • There are “leaked” videos of this riot around liveleak as far as I can remember. Anyhow, what makes bloggers so good at avoiding censorship compared to other Chinese?

    Mr Marketing’s last blog post..The website is down!

  • @Ashley
    What do you mean with “stable china”?
    China is unstable because they have no democracy and no free speech. Thats what makes people unhappy und the country unstable.
    How do you reach a stable china in your theorie? Suppress opposition? Suppress free speech?
    I think you have it backwards.

  • This is a great post! We have it very good with our freedom of speech indeed!

  • Aqua

    Just dropped in to say that this article can be applied to another country as well where freedom of speech does not exist and people are arrested and murdered in the name of religion. There they have filternet instead of internet as most of the sites, forums and online communities are blocked by the government though those people too have their own way of bypassing all such censorships. The country’s name, Iran, an Islamic so-called republic which is ruled in a dark medieval manner than a democratic one.

  • Thanks for the clarification. Yeah, China has had some issues this year. Hopefully the olympics will start some change that is obviously needed.

    It is quite interesting to see how blogging has affected people all over the world and how afraid some governments are of the internet.

    Erik’s last blog post..Wanna Buy Some Blogs?

  • The great thing about people is that they will always use their ingenuity and initiative to find ways around any constraints that are imposed on them.

    The Chinese authorities need to realise that the illusion of control is probably more damaging than the control they think they have

    Owen Cutajar’s last blog post..The value of perks

  • it is only an amount of time before they overthrow that government

  • PS3

    We don’t know how lucky we are, complaining against human rights and the odd privacy infringment. It all pales into insignificance compared to a 4 year sentence for blogging.

    Mind you, if you ever saw my blog, you’d want to lock me up too!

  • Freedom of speech is something we take for granted. Thank you for the reality check! The Chinese government must really be pulling their hair out!

  • The forbidden just makes it more enticing. They need to reconsider their restrictive internet/blogging policies.

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  • Wow, I completely didn’t notice that the blog title was backwards. I often take for granted how rampant opinion is in North America – what would we do without it? The community is going to come up with some sort of code to get the real stories out – if you have to decode the story, it will be that much more interesting.

  • Good one with the title, I thought it was a little awkward when I started reading the post. This story kind of reminds me of the scene in the first Jurassic Park movie, when the Jeff Goldblum character talks about life always finds a way to evolve and grow, no matter what the scientists do to try and control it.

    Top Rated Digital’s last blog post..The Top 10 Digital Cameras Ripped Apart

  • Everyone should be entitled to their freedom of speech. Like the blog title :). Confused me at first.

    Carolina Panthers Blog’s last blog post..Position Analysis: Center

  • I think they should develop some tool that lets them post their massages on different sites and the user can put them together with some tool and read the whole article. Thise way there is no “illegal” content on any site but put together they have meaning.
    This could be based on combining different RSS Feeds together or similar tools. They just need a client tool that puts the messages together automatically.

  • I though this was an interesting comment “it is only an amount of time before they overthrow that government”

    Does anyone agree? I think with the olympics being brought to china, the people of china may begin to see how much money there is in the world and how not everyone is sharing the money as fairly.


    Erik’s last blog post..Wanna Buy Some Blogs?

  • It’s great to see an intelligent effort to bring meaning from ‘interesting’ Chinese Internet trends back to the US market. Before commenting on this reference to the excellent Silicon Hutong blog (by David Wolf, by the way), you might want to have a look at some of the other excellent China-based bloggers. has a very good selection. There’s a lot more to the influence of COD purchases in China than meets the first-time observer’s eye. Take a deeper look.

  • China’s getting more and more connected to the outside world everyday and the truth is something that is difficult to hold back. Eventually they will be facing the fact that they can’t monitor the internet or other mediums for much longer.

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