GetReligion, or maybe not

logo gfocThis is kind of fun.

Maybe.

I just received an email from the Rev. Dr. Arne H. Fjeldstad of Norway, the Lutheran pastor and veteran newspaper editor who is the director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life, which is the organization that brings you GetReligion (be patient, that website is just getting started).

Fjeldstad is very interested in anything that has to do with human rights, especially the laws that govern religious liberty and press freedom (and the Web, in particular). That was the subject of a seminar that I led with him last summer in Oxford, England, which drew a circle of journalists from all around the world.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Pastor Arne pays attention to sites such as this one — Great Fire Wall of China.

As you will see when you visit, the purpose of the site is to trace signals to servers and see which web pages are blocked by the authorities in China and which ones are not. This, my friends, is a timely idea.

It appears that GetReligion.org is not an approved site, while many of the sites that we cover — CNN.com and The New York Times leap to mind — are fine and dandy. It is also interesting to note that the mucho-diverse Beliefnet.com is blocked, while our very progressive friends at TheRevealer.org are approved. Now that’s interesting.

So, GetReligion readers, try out some other symbolic religion, news and religion news sites and tell us what you find out. Fjeldstad is interested in finding out if this Great Fire Wall of China site is dependable or not.

Type, type like the wind. Then click.

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • http://pererro.blogspot.com David N. Scott

    Burgerking.com is blocked. That amuses me. MY blog is blocked but not my Socialist Green friend’s… coincidence?

  • Dale

    Christianity Today’s website isn’t blocked.

    Web censorship in China seems pretty arbitrary. When I lived in Beijing in ’97, the New York Times was blocked, but I could get the Washington Post easily. As far as I could tell, the Post’s international reporting was just as “political” as the Times, but some party apparatchik must have taken offense at a Times editorial. I dunno.

    I’m not surprised that Beliefnet is blocked, as the Chinese religion/dissident movement Falun Gong has a presence there. That’s more of a threat to the Party.

    Get Religion has covered Falun Gong, so you get blocked.

  • http://www.physicsgeekjesusfreak.blogspot.com FzxGkJssFrk

    My site, which has “jesus” in the URL, is not blocked. Yet.

  • http://altreligion.about.com Jennifer Emick

    They don’t like me, either. :-(

  • Jeff Sharlet

    Arbitrary, indeed — China can tolerate The Revealer, but the Pew Charitable Trusts, which originally funded the site, cannot. After Abu Ghraib broke, Pew demanded that The Revealer de-post a short essay comparing the Abu Ghraib photos with Helmut Newton pictures of women on leashes. The irony was that it was probably the most conservative thing I ever wrote, but Pew couldn’t see past the nudity.

    More recently, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about China and censorship, since one of The Revealer’s affiliated scholars studies the country. I’ve wanted to publish his/her work, but doing so will endanger his/her ability to do more of it, and might cause problems for some of the people he/she looks at it.

    The problem has nothing to do with Christians in China — despite ongoing persecution, the government is much more comfortable with evangelicalism than most Americans understand — but with what it considers the really serious threat, Falun Gong.

  • Jeff Sharlet

    Oops. I didn’t catch the “very progressie friends” part. Cool. Terry just red-baited me. By suggesting that being “very progressive” might somehow endear me to China’s very reactionary regime.

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    Jeff:

    Hah. I actually meant that you guys cover a lot of free-wheeling stuff that China might object to. I was surprised you weren’t zapped…..

  • Cassie

    I wonder if different locations in China make a significant difference. I have a friend who could access the NYT in Beijing, but not in Shanghai.

  • Jeff Sharlet

    Oh, I know, Terry — in the parlance of the 50s, I’m anti-anti-communist-baiting you.

    There’s an interesting study to be done for some wonk w/ computer smarts: lots of U.S. employers ban various sites, too — I know, because one Revealer contributor, who works for a Christian publisher, can’t read The Revealer at work. I’d like to know what actual news sources are blocked and where.

  • d burns

    Just for fun I tested my company website (I run a small video production/photography studio) and found it blocked, while Orthodox Priest Fr. Hunneycutt’s blog Orthodixie was not. Doesn’t seam to make since to me.

  • David Palmer

    What great fun.

    I checked both Touchstone and my own church’s website Presbyterian Church of Victoria (Australia) – both BLOCKED.

    Are we doing something right?

  • http://www.tmatt.net tmatt

    JEFF:

    That sounds like a Freedom Forum thing to me.

    Want to co-sign a letter on that request?

  • http://dawnxianamoon.com Dawn Xiana Moon

    I tested my site for fun, and it’s live–Myspace is live too.

  • Stephen

    Wow, this is a really neat site. My blog was blocked, as was Fr. Stephen Freeman’s blog. Also blocked was The Whipping Post, which reviews Christian metal. But, and this I found really interesting, omf.org and omf.org/taiwan were not blocked. OMF is a large evangelical missions organization working in SE Asia, originally started by Hudson Taylor, so I really surprised to see that they were accepted.

  • Stephen

    But I just checked OMF’s page on China, and that was blocked. Oh well.

  • http://www.philocrites.com/ Philocrites

    Unitarian Universalism-related sites Philocrites and UU World both appear to be available in China.

  • Sean Gallagher

    No suprise that the Web site for the Cardinal Kung Foundation is blocked.

  • http://amongthehills.blogspot.com ~c.

    So my blog was “blocked”…so was espn.com. I dunno…seemed kinda phony to me.

  • Michele Hagerman

    I found that the websites of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese and the Orthodox Church in America were NOT blocked.

    A VERY conservative site, Ladies Against Feminism was NOT blocked. I’m told this site is banned in India!

  • http://postwatchblog.com Christopher Fotos

    Wow, fascinating. PostWatch (my blog) is blocked. Could be technical glitch, then again,it could be several favorable posts I made way back when about Rebecca McKinnon’s (sp?) terrific work about The Great Firewall and western internet behemoths helping the authorities jail dissidents.

  • http://physicsgeekjesusfreak.blogspot.com FzxGkJssFrk

    ESPN.com is not blocked. Neither is espn.go.com.

  • Pingback: Catholic Sensibility in China? « Catholic Sensibility

  • Maggie Newman

    Not blocked is http://www.trinitywallstreet.org/, which has lots of webcasts, including those from the “God’s Unfinished Future” presentations.


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