How the residences of a country react to simple requests can tell you a lot about that country’s politics and society.
Recently “American Mike” posted the following on Weibo.com, a Chinese microblogging site:
Hello everyone. My name is Mike. I’m from the U.S. I’ve just arrived in Beijing. I want to contact my family members through Facebook, but I can’t… Is there any way to get on Facebook?
Now, anyone who knows anything about China should know that Facebook and Twitter are banned sites.
Thanks to China Digital Times, we get a peek into how Internet users in China react to this question. And, as I said before, these responses give us a look at what life is like for computer users in China.
Some of my favorite responses are:
@kenneth_wang_wei：Please contact the police should you encounter any problems*. [This sentence was translated as “difficult to find the police” on an information board in a popular tourist attraction of Jiangxi province. A picture of this board was widely re-posted on cyberspace.]
@ajichihuo: Once you overthrow our government, you’ll be able to access Facebook.
@youmutianna: According to our relevant laws and regulations, your request is denied.
@feishangzhe: Bingo! Lost connection means you are in China.
@Zhuyili: In the Celestial Empire, Facebook has to die. [*Facebook is often phonetically translated into Chinese as “has-to-die.” (Fei Si Bu Ke, 非死不可)]
@XTxiaotian: This place is also known as “West Korea.”
@FreeDroid: Kiddo, if you didn’t know enough about this place, you shouldn’t have come.
The last comment that also got me thinking: How could “American Mike” not know that the ruling elite feel they have to control all aspects of life, especially the Internet? The freewheeling nature of Facebook and Twitter are just too much for the Boys in Beijing to accept.