We’ve heard about the infamous Great Firewall of China that blocks some of the most popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The person behind it, dubbed the father of the Great Firewall, Fang Binxing, admits that he has a lot of haters but he says, and i quote, “taking one for the country.”
In an interview from Global Times, Fang Bingxing’s admits that his project brought down on him an intense barrage of online criticism. Back in December, he opened a microblog account on Sina.com and in just three hours, he received more than 10,000 messages, most of them being hate mail about his role in creating a technology that filters controversial keywords and blocks access to websites deemed sensitive. He was forced to take it down but still defends himself by saying that he’s doing the right thing; it’s his sacrifice for the country.
“I regard the dirty abuse as a sacrifice for my country,” Fang says. “They can’t get what they want so they need to blame someone emotionally: like if you fail to get a US visa and you slag off the US visa official afterwards.”
Furthermore, he adds that such a firewall is a “common phenomenon around the world,” he argues, and nor is China alone in monitoring and controlling the Internet, claiming 180 countries including South Korea and the US are monitoring it as well.
Well, he did briefly mention Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg with a joke saying “The frustrated Facebook president is said to have pleaded with local Chinese entrepreneurs to show him how to beat the Great Firewall.” But he did not mention anything about the possibility of easing up the great firewall in favor of the social network.
But Chinese netizens shouldn’t lose hope as Fudan University professor Zhang Zhian notes that during the last decade, China’s Internet freedom has developed a lot in terms of Web user awareness and freedom of speech. “China’s Internet is still in the process of development. We’ll listen to foreign countries’ opinions on the development of China’s Internet, but we should have our own timetable,” he says and asks netizens to be patient and rational.
Finally, he downplays the entire thing by saying the situation is merely “traffic control,” and that people should just enjoy what they have.