“It’s Time To Demolish The Great Firewall of China.” Ben Crox. (Part 1/5)

29 Oct 2010 in Interviews

I think I’m gonna call this “the dark interview”.

Frustrated by the Chinese government’s stubborn commitment to censoring the Internet (which basically prevents people like me from being able to connect online with entrepreneurs and aspiring business leaders in China), “dark” would be a great word to describe my mood with the web situation in China. Oh and of course, for the entirety of my interview series here…the lighting was very, very dark unfortunately.

But forget all that. Let’s get down to business.

While I was in Singapore I had the unique fortune of meeting Ben Crox, an entrepreneur from Hong Kong. Ben is the Principal Consultant for Web Fusion Technology Limited. The main purpose of our interview was to understand what is being done from the ground level to rid China of the Great Firewall.

PROJECT WEST CHAMBER

One such initiative? Project West Chamber, for which Ben is a promoter/evangelist. Their mission is to ‘no longer be satisfied with climbing over the Great Firewall of China, but to demolish it altogether‘. In plainer English: they aren’t satisfied with constantly finding loopholes to avoid the firewall that China has created to censor the Internet. Instead, they want China to stop censoring the Internet entirely.

Now that’s a mission I can be on board with.

The entire interview ranged from talking about Google’s stance against the Chinese government, the stretch of the Great Firewall, the vast amount of resources China puts into censoring the web, and more. In this segment, I asked him more about Project West Chamber and the firewall itself. Need MORE? War2Wall.info is another part of the movement against the the Great Firewall.

I ADMIT I’M ONE SIDED HERE:

I acknowledge that this is only one side of the issue, and that our view reflects only one perspective. Ben is just sharing his view and his passion about the subject, and I am sharing the story with you. I understand how complicated the issue is, and how different China’s governing policies and culture towards freedom of expression is. But I think a country as successful as China’s ought to open the web and welcome criticism from within its own borders. As Reuters reported, China’s government censors sites like Facebook and Twitter “for fear they will provide a platform to organize or share illicit information.” So they fear what…uproar? Criticism? Questioning? But without critical feedback, how can any entity improve?

Personally, I don’t see what the government is so worried about. The friends I have in China are very, very proud to be Chinese. Having access to Facebook and Twitter and an uncensored web would only encourage them to share with each other more openly and have the opportunity to more easily connect with fellow students and aspiring entrepreneurs like myself abroad. Is that such a bad thing? If I’m missing a huge point, please share it in the comments!

THE SETTING

We shot the interview in Singapore at Blooie’s bar beside Prince George’s Park Residences of the National University of Singapore, where I was studying abroad at the time. Again, I am sorry that the lighting is so dark!

CONNECT WITH BEN CROX

Ben is from Hong Kong and his company Web Fusion Technology Lt. is based there.
To connect with Ben more, you can follow him on Twitter here.

SO WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Is China right to censor the Internet given the vast cultural differences in China and the enormous success its governmental motus operandi has had?