Outside the Great Firewall

Now that I’m outside China, it’s time you all should know the unfiltered truth about the country….

It’s a common belief that the Chinese government monitors everything from email to blogs and censors everything from news to mail to internet content. The only thing that I ever noticed was different was the fact that I did not have access to Facebook. I still accessed news websites and blogged without consequence (but with some reservation). My personal opinion is that there is no possible way the government is reading everything. For one, there are so many freaking people that they would require another country the size of China just to handle the monitoring. And 2nd, they are just not smart enough, which is something I could blog about for months. But, I won’t bore you and generalize all Chinese people.

The government is also on one big power trip for no reason at all. One night, we were at the train station trying to get out of town for the weekend. While we were in line, there was an altercation with a man and the police. Instead of arresting him and taking him to the police station, they just kicked his ass in front of everyone for a couple hours. I’m assuming they did this to set an example. There was no need. In a city of 12 million, crime was really rare. Basically, if you steal something, they just cut your hand off. Hurt or kill someone, you’ll be dead within a few weeks.

In addition, the country loves a cover up. When I went to Beijing, I assumed everyone would speak English because of the huge overhaul they did for the 2008 Olympics. No. A friend of mine told me that the government just forced all the Chinese English speakers to work in the city for the event. Guangzhou is getting ready to host the Asian games in November and as of July 1st they’ve taken action to reduce the pollution in the city. So, no more big trucks or construction in the city center but once the games are over, it’s okay to go back to polluting the Earth. At least they actually acknowledge that the city is polluted. Also, I don’t think it was a coincidence that in the last month, most of the taxi drivers, all of a sudden spoke a little english. I’m sure once the games are over the old, rude, farting, burping, lougey hacking drivers who scream mandarin and refuse to take you to remote parts of town will be back in action. So, if you ever go to China, just remember that almost everything is an illusion.

And lastly, there is a big rumor that China is on track to be the next world power. Not gonna happen. The only reason this rumor exists is because of the huge number of people. Of course the economy will grow when you almost have nearly 2 billion people and many of them are coming into the age where they have a little spending power. But, until their government gives them a little more freedom, how can they advance, try new things and grow into this power. And even when (and if) that happens, it’s going to take decades for the people to embrace the change.

Of course, these are all just personal opinions. And if the government is reading blogs, I can probably consider my Chinese visa revoked.

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