As Egypt continues to unravel, amid continued concern in Tunisia and Jordan, it’s no surprise that the average Chinese person has no clue about this “Jasmine Revolution.” The search for Egypt in Chinese returned no results on TenCent, Sina and other microblogging sites yesterday. As we’ve talked about before here, China’s “Great Firewall,” requires domestic websites to self-censor, and blocks overseas services like Twitter and Facebook.
It’s also not surprising that the pictures of tanks and protesters remind many here of Tiananamen Square. While Egypt and China are both under authoritarian rule, it seems unlikely that the revolution will reach this far East because unlike Egypt, Beijing has been able to provide economically for her people. Nonetheless, the Party is still paranoid–and rightly so. It is incredible how much us humans are inspired by the example of others.
Despite how hard the Egyptian government has been working, with the help of the U.S. and the U.K. companies by the way, to shut down technology to stop the protesters from organizing and mobilizing… technology always seems to be one step ahead. While the protests were initially organized by new social media like Twitter, that ceased to work when the Internet was shut down, which, by the way, Obama also has the power to do if the same thing ever happened in the US. As a result, the Egyptian revolution has in many ways been a satellite television revolution. But just recently, because some cell phone service still exists, a new service lets people call a number to speak their tweets, which are then published under the handle speak2tweet. It’s this kind of quick resourcefulness that makes me think that if a revolution were ever to take root in China that the government just wouldn’t be fast enough to repress the technological work arounds.