Michael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) Discusses the Great Chinese Firewall Michael Sylvester

  firewall.jpgMichael Anti (aka Jing Zhao) has been blogging from China for 12 years.  Despite the control the central government has over the internet -- "All the servers are in Beijing" -- he says that hundreds of millions of microbloggers are in fact creating the first national public sphere in the country's history, and shifting the balance of power in unexpected ways.

See the entire TED talk here...it might surprise you.

For those of you unfamiliar with the sturctural system here in China, a sentence or two might help to understand the sweeping changes going on and / or being prodded into existence by the Central Government in Beijing.   

Provincial corruption and local control is an impediment to development and progress here in China and has been for hundreds of years. Some very intelligent folks in Beijing are now using actual unfettered freedom of speech as a means of shining a light into some dark corners here.

For those of you that know your US Civil Rights history Bull Connor is a name you will know.

Connor infamously directed the use of fire hoses, and police attack dogs against peaceful demonstrators, including children.  His aggressive tactics backfired when the spectacle of the brutality being broadcast on national television served as one of the catalysts for major social change in the Southern United States and helped in large measure to assure passage by the US Congress of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

So now, as of a few months ago, China started permitting social media and the 300 million mircobloggers across the country to freely broadcast their thoughts and objections to their versions of Bull Connor here... Nobody really knows where this is going, but look at what that kind of openness did to the United States.

You might say "But they do not have a free internet, so freedom of speech does not exist"  

Well, you might be right.  Or you might just be missing the point...