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Today's Big Idea: Scaling China's Great Firewall

The Big Idea for Monday, March 26, 2012

These days, we can fire up our computers and have access to a world wide web of news, information, social media, videos of cute kittens and naked women. For those living in free societies, there is almost no limit to what you can access. But for the 400 million Internet users in China, the Internet is much smaller place with firewalls fortified by the government's Internet police that is 40,000 strong. They spend their days scrubbing the web for pornography, stories of political corruption and anything that promotes political dissent and social unrest. China's censorship has consequences and sometimes they come at the cost of human lives.

Internet users and activists, however, are not taking this lying down. Francis Fukuyama told Big Think that political change is driven by anger: "You get angry when you’re slapped by a policeman," he said. "You get angry when you go to the government and complain about something and nobody listens." While Fukuyama may not think that Chinese people are united or angry enough to start a revolution, the anger has been felt by a group of Chinese software developers in the U.S. who work at N.A.S.A and Microsoft by day and moonlight as activists by night. They've channeled their anger into a set of circumvention software tools for China's Internet users so they can have access to the same information has ordinary Americans. With it, they hope to promote awareness of China's human rights offenses and increase access to breaking news denied by China's state media.


  1. 1 The Long Arm Of China's Internet Police
    An Phung Think Tank
  2. 2 Poking Holes In China's Great Firewall
    An Phung Think Tank
  3. 3 Why China Can't Beat the Internet
    Jonathan Zittrain
  4. 4 Revolutionary Handbook: Why Twitter Can't Overthrow China
    Daniel Honan Think Tank

Today's Big Idea: Scaling C...

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