China’s Internet censorship regime, known as the Great Firewall, can appear monolithic. A few days ago, however, that wall was breached. Chinese citizens rode a glitch and jumped onto the momentarily unencumbered information super highway, according to reports from CNET.Where did Chinese Internet users head? Straight to President Obama’s Google+ page.
“Chinese people have flooded this page for days. Just google it and u will know what actually happened. By the way, most of us only speak Mandarin,” Chinese Google+ user +Xusheng Zhou said to +Patricia Errazuriz. Chinese users left a wide variety of comments, ranging from jokes to pleas about the state of civil rights issues in China. Others just competed for the top commenting slot.
Users were able to access Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google+, some for the first time.
“I can suddenly access YouTube! No need to breach the firewall!” posted excited Weibo user Arvin Xie.
Google went back into China this past January after two years of self-imposed exile from Chinese censorship. Like most Internet companies, Google couldn’t ignore the huge opportunity of China’s more than 500 million Internet users, which is twice as many as the U.S. This is a market that Facebook would love to tap.
Reuters reports that on Wednesday access to Facebook, YouTube and Twitter was once again blocked. As of today, Thursday, additional comments are still showing up on the Obama Google+ page. For some reason, Chinese authorities haven’t completely patched that hole.
Barack Obama is using his Google+ page as yet another place to “connect” with the American people, supposedly. He gave the “most interactive State of the Union address ever” in January. Obama even Google+ Hungout with the public, including five golden ticket-winning Americans. “But for the public,” writes ReadWriteWeb’s Jon Mitchell, “it was no more of a paradigm shift than changing the TV channel.”
Perhaps it’s time Obama hungout with a few Chinese Internet users.
“?????????” writes Chinese Google+ user Dongboy Lee. Or, according to Google Translate, “Wow, Mr. President, good morning ~”