No more Skype in China: The moment things affect yourself

5 01 2011

by AngryPanda

Every few weeks some curious news from China dribbles down. And I don’t mean health and safety conditions or environmental problems. If you want to know about those there are better places to inform yourself but I will give you the short version: They are shit.

No I’m talking about the more curious stuff, like how World of Warcraft had to edit the bones out of the Forsaken to get their game released. Or on more important note: How Google withdrew because it would not put up with their censorship. Way to go by the way. But all in all who really cares about this shit right? I deal with Chinese people on the phone, email and instant messenger almost daily and somehow this stuff still passes me by. I think I dislike it more than other people but at the end of the day it is still another world.

I wasn’t touched by them banning YouTube since I don’t see that (and it is pretty much broken to the point of being useless in half of the European countries anyway), I don’t care about Twitter or Facebook since I’d rather chew on broken glass than use them. And suddenly everything changes. The newest entry on the ban-list is Skype.

China on Thursday announced that it had made illegal the use of Skype, the popular internet telephony service, as the country continues to shut itself off from the rest of the world.

Why is that different? Because I use it to talk to them. This is a basic part of my daily work. Talking about bug fixes, printing quality, changes to user-controls, you name it. There are several layers of revelation to this. First of all it is flat-out inconvenient. Without a decent real-time chat things will get a lot harder to do. Then there’s curiosity: How will the two official messengers work? The two major Chinese providers will make a messenger service but it will of course be completely state controlled. Will it even be an option to use these outside their country? Even if they are available I wouldn’t be surprised if they are pretty nasty rootkits. In the end I think this will make life just a little more difficult every day and I’m extremely annoyed. And that made me realize just how bad it is if your freedoms are taken away. The Chinese government managed to put that little dent into my options and I’m already pissed. It has to be insane if you actually have to live under such a regime. A little revelation once it turned from curious news to something affecting my life.

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