The W4 and freedom

Many here are sharing the reports on how General Secretary Hong Xianhua praises the student quarantines for keeping order in the universities during the disaster. This makes me angry – that she can praise us and get praise, all over the world, because she does not send the army against us, and nobody asking about the silent zones, the protests, the police raids and the students arrested or dead. Does anybody know that the same students who organised the quarantines are the ones who were in the protests? And why do many of those students now accept a SkIMp call and shake a virtual hand of the General Secretary? I think for a scrap of praise and the promise of a good career in the CCP. We must see that Hong only praises us because it is to her advantage to control the student occupations. If we talk about how the army behave at Hebei University, where they threaten students and take away their supplies, how much will Hong praise our organisation and courage?

A lot of people are afraid for me because I blog about how our occupation defies the authorities. People have an idea about China that is not really untrue, but is a little old fashioned. The government wants to suppress dissent on the internet still, but what can they do since the W4? The Socnet I use does not share information, so I am safe if nobody who knows me gives me away. Also, I am not the only one who says these things. There is safety in numbers – they cannot investigate every blog and track everybody who criticises them, especially when resources are taken with more important matters.

I am the wrong generation to be afraid of what I write on the internet. I was 13 when the Golden Shield, “The Great Firewall of China”, fell to the W4. I remember when the satellites are launched, my parents saying: “They will never let us have this technology – it will be for the government only.” But the technology is built into all the new computers, and we are building all the computers. For a little while, they try to make it illegal to own a W4 device without permission, but they are everywhere, and there is always a set available from a black market or internet site. Though many were prosecuted, the government get more from the tax on W4 devices than the fines on those they catch with an illegal set. Of course, we all must register to the National Socnet, but they cannot stop us using another Socnet, one that will take a fake name. Since the silent zones, I understand why they are so excited for the W4 at that time. To me it is just a new technology to do the same things I always did, but to my parents it was the first time you can use the internet anywhere, at any time, totally free to say what you want. None of us knew it could be taken from us so easily. Still, they do not do that here, in Beijing, while the world watches. Instead, they try to make us their pet, take the credit for our success, but we are not fooled, our words are still free.

Would I be more free in Jack’s farm in America than here? My parents always think that the West is some place where everybody has freedom, more than we do, but in my life I never see the evidence for this. Though some places have more rules and worse punishment for a small crime, everywhere is free or nowhere is free. Since the quarantine I feel more free than ever in my life. Though what we can do is very limited, nobody tells us what we will do – we decide the rules ourselves, on a forum where everybody has an equal voice. Everywhere else in the world, say the wrong thing, have the wrong ideas or the wrong background, or don’t have enough money, and somebody will make you less free.


4 thoughts on “The W4 and freedom

  1. What you’re doing there is inspirational. But I know how it is when you’re young and you’re united in resistance, you have right on your side, and you’ve had a few victories… you feel invincible. And that’s when you’re at your most vulnerable. Perhaps I’m just jaded, and what these quarantines have built really will change China forever. I do hope so. But just in case, just for me, make sure there’s no trace of drafts or bookmarks to this blog or your forum on any of your sets. Be really sure there’s nothing to identify you as an organiser.

        • Ash, I download a Set Cleaner app that will remove all traces of the Independent Socnet from all my sets, if I enter one code on one set. I also use my National Socnet account sometimes, for some innocent browsing, so it looks like I am not hiding another Socnet.
          Elaine, No unnecessary risks, but some risks are necessary.
          Jack, Don’t start. Please.

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