Odd, how the earthquake-induced damage to a cable none of us knew even existed can wreak such havoc on China’s Internet. A blogger reflects on how this distant catastrophe effects his daily routines:
This past week has reminded me of the little things I take for granted: Eating the same breakfast casserole every year on Christmas morning, with fresh-baked blueberry muffins and orange juice; spending Christmas dinner joking with my siblings, telling the same stories and laughing just as hard; and an Internet cable running under the Pacific Ocean that connects North America to East Asia, that I never even thought about until an earthquake ruptured it sometime Wednesday.
The breakage of that cable has left much of China cut off from the World Wide Web for the past two days. Any sites not hosted locally have been unavailable or at best painfully slow. I’ve managed to see that I have email but can’t read it.
News has been the biggest loss. I usually read a dozen blogs and get RSS feeds on as many major newspapers. All I have now is China Daily. I was able to learn Wednesday that former President Gerald Ford died. I also read about how well China treats foreign reporters, even those from Taiwan. Xinhua told me, so it must be true.
Let’s all hope it gets repaired quickly. The idea of having to rely solely on state-owned media for information is scary (“we have completely eliminated SARS in Guandong province, and there are no signs of the disease in Beijing…”).
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.