The internet from China, circa 2017

Posted On: Monday - April 3rd 2023 10:42AM MST
In Topics: 
  Internets  Websites  China

Peak Stupidity has strayed from our mission lately, wading through the weeds of geekland. This has involved the recent posts about the growth of various websites and the internet itself (at least the www portion), as per Graphical history of the most visited web sites and It's all page views nowaday. I wrote those 2 to expand on some thoughts in the curmudgeonry post Peak Search Results. No, the internet is not stupid. Is it making people stupid? Yes. So, we're not totally off mission here, and getting back to it.

In the comment thread under the post linked-to above, Mr. Hail brought up a few questions about the access to American (foreign, in general, I guess) websites in China. I can vouch only from 2017 and back a decade, but I will start with a quick discussion of the situation from '07-'09.

It was 3 in the morning in Manchuria, meaning I was wide awake. China is about half a day off from America, time-wise, depending on your time zone and daylight/standard time. The young lady was slumped over the counter asleep. I had to nudge her to get service. Doubting correctly that a White guy would know any Mandarin, the girl held up 2 figures, and we both understood for an hour. Whoa, whoa, wait, it's not THAT kind of story and Peak Stupidity is not THAT kind of site! This was an internet cafe, and she meant 2 元 - equivalent to 30¢*, for an hour on-line.

I could get to any site I wanted to, such as my yahoo mail accounts and my favorite political blogs at the time - The American Spectator, VDare, Gun Owners of America, etc.

This was anonymous too. I'd just handed the girl coins or bills for the 2 . Flash forward only 2 years, and these same places wanted to see an ID, which they took and made a copy of. That means for me, a driver's license that nobody in '09 would know what to to with. For Chinese people, that meant one's National ID Card - motto: Don't leave home without it.

I realized that I've already discussed this to a lesser extent in Dashed high-hopes for China - Part 2. (See also Part 1.) Let me get to Mr. Hail's comment.

The year 2017 was the last time I was in China. The connection on this regular old desktop computer was not great, but I spent time going to my decade-later normal websites. (for email): No problem. No problem. No problem. No problem. to search for (but of course!) and write posts (didn't have the commenters then): No problem. Bzzzzzt!! That means embedded videos and all else too. One cannot view youtube videos in China.** This was either before bitchute and rumble or at least before this blogger had heard of them. I would guess they are blocked too.

Actually, I don't remember if any message came to the browser, but the browser window or frame was blank. This was a shame too, as I wanted to share some favorite music of mine with a guy there, while in the country and from back at home. Also, as I noted, he could have read Peak Stupidity, but without the videos, you can't get the point of 1/3 the posts.

Here's my take on the whole deal there. The CCP can control Chinese content from China. It can probably control Chinese content from the rest of the world pretty well. These people, though, even with some real English ploficiency, are not going to understand the snarky humor, and subtle and even overt points that Steve Sailer makes. It's beyond them. Why not block Gun Owners due to "the People don't have the guns.", then? Maybe they figure that most Chinese people can't read English, so it's not worth the trouble to go through all these sites.

Ironically, I've been on occasional hotel lobby computers that had certain pages of Steve Sailer's and other Unz Review writers blocked. It was weird, as one blog post of Sailer's, for example, would be OK, but another not, and I didn't see the point. Someone "called" them in? Yet in China, I could go all over the site. Now, had I posted not so nice remarks about Winnie the Pooh-for-life or the CCP FROM China, who knows?

* It still is, approximately, as the government pegs the Yuan to the Dollar.

** That is, unless it's changed since '17. Maybe the CCP has new censorship software that can handle youtube now..

The Alarmist
Wednesday - April 5th 2023 4:46AM MST

NASA announed the Artemis crew members, and it is a diversity bonanza.

The spacecraft will likely be remotely piloted/commanded.
Tuesday - April 4th 2023 8:13PM MST

- China vs USA space news -

The USA now claims a return to the Moon's orbit in 2024. Someone has suggested the hand-picked astronauts will each need to pass rigorous Wokeness screening to get the all-clear. Dieter Kief says he doubts any Wokeness litmus test will be extreme enough to hinder the mission.

China has said that the Chinese flag will be planted on the Moon, by Chinese human hands, before the Year of the Dog makes its return (2030).
Tuesday - April 4th 2023 8:09PM MST

"As for tiers, if they have any system like that, you meant "most lax" tier at the western hotel lobby, right?"


Lack of an 'Edit' button strikes again!


Speaking of China's government and its various hang-ups, what would happen if someone on their green-list (holder of a visa) showed up with a "Tiananmen Tank Man" t-shirt?
The Alarmist
Tuesday - April 4th 2023 4:53AM MST

I’ve had more than a few “right of centre” websites blocked by the WiFi in the American Airlines Admirals’ lounges in the US.
Tuesday - April 4th 2023 1:00AM MST
PS: This political thing is over now. It had to do with my job and illegal aliens.
Tuesday - April 4th 2023 1:00AM MST
PS: Mr. Hail, it's possible that google didn't work, and I shouldn't have included that, but I think I would have recalled - I normally like to "google" "Peak Stupidity" in case the software there has some algorithm that accounts (favorably) for like searches from different locations. (I have no idea.) I don't recall google NOT working, anyway, just youtube, disappointingly.

As for tiers, if they have any system like that, you meant "most lax" tier at the western hotel lobby, right?
Monday - April 3rd 2023 9:54PM MST

"The year 2017 was the last time I was in China."

So I was wrong in my low-confidence guess that the "political problem" you cryptically mentioned last week could be a problem the PRC government. Specifically, that you had arrived in China but were prevented from posting, except perhaps on a dissident VPN whose hospitality you could not afford to abuse. Being under a wifi network that blocks your access is a kind of political problem.

But it was always a long-shot guess. I think the commenter SafeNow proposed two or three more-realistic categories of "political problem" than my China-wifi guess. Whatever it was, it seems you sailed past both Charybdis and Scylla and yelled out to them what to do with their political problem as they raged back there in your wake. (At least I'm hoping it went about like that.)
Monday - April 3rd 2023 8:06PM MST

It's possible that the PRC-China government has used a system of multiple tiers of censorship, restrictiveness, or distortion of what you see.

At certain times or places or with certain specific target-audiences in mind, they'd have incentive to be most lax: public computers within foreigners' hotels (in the 2000s era, into the early 2010s) would be ideal places to have the least-lax tier in place.
Monday - April 3rd 2023 7:55PM MST

Google worked for you in China?

I remember Facebook working in China in 2010. This surprised me. You just never know what you'll get.

I think some other major domains were blocked including the big blogging site "blogspot" (at the time, was therefore blocked).
Monday - April 3rd 2023 3:05PM MST
PS: Hah! Good one, Possumman!
Monday - April 3rd 2023 1:44PM MST
PS Can you access the Harbor Freight from China??--you can sure access China from Harbor Freight
WHAT SAY YOU? : (PLEASE NOTE: You must type capital PS as the 1st TWO characters in your comment body - for spam avoidance - or the comment will be lost!)