Blogging can be a lonely, thankless avocation, but there are those little things that make it all worthwhile. An appreciative comment or email. The occasional donation. Getting banned by the Chinese government.
During the six weeks I’ve dogged the pet food recall story, I’ve often grown frustrated with my failure to raise a louder alarm that melamine-tainted Chinese imports may have widely contaminated the human food supply, but yesterday I learned that my hard work has not gone entirely unnoticed. Sometime late Tuesday or early Wednesday the Chinese government blocked Internet access to HorsesAss.org, apparently fearful of what its citizens might learn of their own unregulated food supply — like the fact that Chinese vegetable proteins and livestock feed are routinely adulterated with scrap melamine and scrap cyanuric acid, and that in addition to renal failure, chronic exposure may cause cancer and reproductive damage. You know, stuff like that.
My local political blog typically averages just a few thousand readers a day, so if China’s billion-plus citizens were routinely checking in over their morning congee, I think I’d notice. But regardless, China’s government isn’t taking any chances.
I first became aware of the ban via an email from a reader, who wrote:
Congratulations! You just got blocked by the Chinese government! I happen to live in China at the moment, and couldn’t click into the article and had to go through anonymouse.org
The thought was oddly flattering, but I figured it was probably just some temporary network glitch. Then later in the day, I saw a link come in from Peking Duck, an expat blog in Taipei:
For some marvelous commentary on this subject, including a scathing indictment of how the US FDA (mis)handled this mess, you have to go here. Oddly enough, the site seems to be banned here in China. Fancy that.
Hmm. I wonder if Yahoo has handed over all my email yet?
That Chinese authorities would bother blocking a Washington state political blog because I’ve covered their food safety scandal a little too closely, says something about the total disregard they have for the health and welfare of their own people. And perhaps it says something about their growing unease over the details of this scandal that have yet to come to light.
Either way, it reassures me that I’m on the right track.