Tech 'tips' for Beijing visitors

Tech 'tips' for Beijing visitors

Summary: It looks like foreign tourists are avoiding Beijing in droves. China originally expected 1.


It looks like foreign tourists are avoiding Beijing in droves. China originally expected 1.5 million visitors. Now that’s down to 450,000.

Still, that’s nearly 450,000 journalists coming to town. Everyone’s a reporter now, thanks to tiny electronics and the Web. Even tourists should regard themselves as such. And don’t think Beijing isn’t watching those who watch it.

In most parts of the world, it’s 24 years past 1984. The ubiquity of video screens, cameras and communications has gone a long way toward upending Big Brother.

Citizens have more power over police, for instance, thanks to the technology they carry in their hands every day.

A good example in the last week was the capturing of this video concerning a policeman’s attack on a bicyclist in New York City – which the policeman had reported was an attack on himself and a threat to vehicles that no one could find.

Simple camerawork can also document man’s inhumanity to man, as in this video on a hit-and-run accident in Hartford, CT.

But if you’re Liu Shaokun and you live in China, you are beholden to a government which feels most comfortable sticking with a 1984-like script. If you’re found posting images of schools that collapsed in an earthquake on the Internet, Big Brother gives you a year of “re-education” – in a labor camp.

And if you are professional journalists on the job at the Olympics, you get blocked from any sites that might give you a whiff of human rights abuses or other information that might affect the "stability" of the country.

So, dear citizens of the world, as you head into Beijing over the next couple weeks, you may be able to help advance the cause of human freedom in China by recording what you see, on the street, when you least expect it.

But, as citizen journalists, beware. The definition of “media freedom” in China is a moving target. And you could be one.

That means:

Be alert, but be cautious. • Don’t be too obvious, in what you try to record outside the stadium. You may have eyes or cameras trained on you, too. • Pick your spot.If you are so bold as to try and take down an account of an event from a Chinese citizen using a digital recorder, do so out of sight, if you must. • Make copies. Store them in multiple locations. • Don’t distribute a single one, until after you’re safely home – or outside the borders of China, in a free country.

If you think you’re going to file an “iReport” for CNN, make sure the “i” is not about you.

Any other tips, techies?

Topic: China

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  • Beijing Visitors

    Your points are valid and need to be raised for the awareness of those fortunate enough to make the trip.

    Thought ZDnet was a technology space? The two videos posted reflect items captured on camera that reflect a negitive response of the people. Which is usually hammered at by other's with social agenda's that at-times itself is a distraction.

    Apple is planning on streaming video with the support of CCTV (funny enough-China Central Television). This can prove to be a tremendous break-through. Broadcasting feeds generated from Surveillance cameras. Only in such a "closed" lab like envirnoment can this possibly take place.

    The behind the scenes knowledge obtained, used the right way in a "free" society, can open avenues of possibilities today only on paper.

    Chicago - only second to London is developing an infrastructure of surveillance cameras that now looks to encourage businesses to join the network through its 911 center. Is it possible the surveillance build up in these cities is connected with the Olympics?
    (Chicago is still in the running to host 2016)

    Not to overlook China's other side, we have a strong tendency within our own media of "selective" messages.

    One main role technology plays is finding alternate uses for ideas once there created. At times we leave this up to the "free" market to bring forward. If we spend to much time with the Orwellian theory, we risk the opportunity of missing something that may prove more important to society.

    Communities across this great nation are embracing surveillance with the honorable objective of securing the land for the people. The camera was never in question, it is those behind the camera.

    It is sad individuals like yourself don't see this opportunity an trumpet in a new concept in using surveillance cameras. Maybe because "hits/visitors" are more important the true content.

    John Feeney (bluegil)
    Chicago, IL
    • WTF???

      Jeez... Ramble much???
      Hallowed are the Ori
    • You sound like a CCTV camera salesman. (NT)

  • ....

    Hallowed are the Ori
  • RE: Tech Tips for Beijing Visitors

    Also use heavy encryption on the hard disk on your notebook computer, software to detect the installation of keyloggers, a good firewall, and use a port 80 or 443 VPN to encrypt all your traffic from your notebook to a paired VPN server in the U.S. The VPN can also help you overcome the filtering of web sites by the Chinese.

    Or better yet, protest by not going at all and not donating your dollars to the Chinese economy.