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article imageCitizen journalists avoid 'Great firewall of China' by writing backwards

By Kesavan Unnikrishnan     Jul 2, 2008 in Internet
Chinese bloggers are trying to find new ways to circumvent government filtering done in reporting news events.The most recent one is to write backwards.
Chinese citizen journalists are using a software that flips sentences to read backward in an effort to break the 'Great firewall'. Writing backwards makes it increasingly difficult to keyword search engines to filter out unwanted content. The strategy was used in reporting last week's riots in Guizhou province. Wall Street Journal reports.
Bloggers on forums such as Tianya.cn have taken to posting in formats that China's Internet censors, often employees of commercial Internet service providers, have a hard time automatically detecting. One recent strategy involves online software that flips sentences to read right to left instead of left to right, and vertically instead of horizontally.
Writing backwards can work well for Chinese because of its ideographic writing system. A more general example in English is the phrase 'bass ackwards'.
China, a country with 220 million Internet users, has over 18 million bloggers. With the Olympics just one month away, Chinese government is making desperate efforts to remove all objectionable content from the net. But it is getting increasingly difficult as bloggers are finding out new ways.
More about Bloggers, Firewall, China