Chinese college student attacks internet regulator — with eggs

May 24th, 2011 by Search Influence Alumni


Millions of Americans log onto Facebook every day without giving it a second thought, but something we consider a part of our everyday lives is very much a forbidden fruit in China. A recent protest has drawn attention in the news to just how fortunate we are to be able to use social media as a part of our regular communication.

Chinese internet regulator Fang Binxing may have known he’s not in most students’ good graces when we walked into Wuhan University to give a talk on internet security this past week, but he probably didn’t expect to be attacked by an angry student with projectiles such as shoes and eggs. However, that’s exactly what took place.

A student only identified by his Twitter handle, @hanunyi, claims that several other students had planned to join in on the protest, but got cold feet at the last minute. After being interrupted by the projectiles, Binxing cut the talk short and left to go to the airport.

In the hours that followed, a surge of support for the attack appeared on internet forums and channels, only to be deleted by censors. Less courageous voices named @hanunyi a hero for the people, offering him all sorts of rewards for his act.

Fang Binxing’s work in banning a tremendous number of websites from the Chinese public is considered a safety precaution. Websites such as YouTube and Facebook are considered a danger as they may enable Chinese citizens with a means to oppose Communist Party rule.

The incident has not been officially acknowledged, but the Associated Press quoted a policeman in saying it was “under investigation”.

The extent of the internet censorship in The People’s Republic of China is not commonly known to most people in other countries. China has a long history of not allowing its occupants to openly communicate, banning everything from books to films. In China, every key social media site including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Foursquare and many more are banned.

How would your business be different if you could no longer use social media?