Although I’ve been in in China for three years I’ve only been on Twitter half of that time. And for the last year Twitter has been blocked by the government via “the great firewall” or #gfw in twitterspeak. So it meant learning about vpns/ proxies to access information that people in the West take for granted. If I want to access Facebook, Youtube, blogspot or a bit.ly shortened url I need my vpn(virtual private network) on. Some of them are free but only work slowly and for a short period of time.Some cost $60.00/year or more like like Witopia.
Twitter has become a lifeline for me to other people in China and beyond. Over the last few days it played a vital role as the situation in Bangkok escalated. A situation that is much more than “yellowshirts” vs “redshirts”-and I am indebted to Mark Mackinnon and Richard Barrow-both on twitter and very knowledgeable of Bangkok and Thailand.
People in China who use Twitter are not just young, male and geeky as Evan Osnos suggests in his post in the New Yorker. The China community moves beyond the barriers of sex, race, age and firewalls.