11.27.2012

Internet Connection

You don't understand me
You don't know my game
I say "whats the malfunction?"
You say "the internet connection!"
I'm down like my internet connection
-M.I.A.

A common complaint among our fellow foreigners is, "I can't get into my email," meaning "I can't access my gmail." The rumor is that China and Google are in a bit of a spat right now.  Thus Google-lovers like me bemoan unreliable access to email and Google.com, and many other U.S. based websites.

So what to do in a world without Google? Sometimes I opt to read a book, but mostly I surf the web using  Baidu.com. Baidu.com is China's most popular search engine, and is great for finding free song downloads and research papers ready for plagiarism.  I ignore most of the poorly written papers, but take full advantage of the free song downloads. I have downloaded songs that I would not buy, but unabashedly enjoy. These guilty pleasures include Rihanna's "Umbrella", Carly Ray Jepson's "Call Me Maybe", Bruno Mars "Marry You", Taio Cruz's "Dynamite", and Fun.'s "We Are Young".

So why is China giving Google the silent treatment? I cannot say for sure, but from observation it seems Google's silence coincides with China's big political meeting a couple weeks ago. While police officers stationed at every street corner and gate are visible evidence of China's increased security measures, newly blocked access to Google and other websites is cyber evidence of increased internet defense. Even taxis have to abide by security measures.  According to the Washington Times, the handles in taxis have been removed to prevent passengers from spreading leaflets(a).

The meeting is now over, and we are eagerly awaiting Google and China to become friends again. Is it too much to ask? I just want to read my email whenever I want.

Chinese word of the blog: 上网 shàngwǎng (literally, on net)
English translation: 1.) to be on the internet 2.) to be netted (of fish)
I love the character, 网. It really looks like a net.