Chinese netizens flood Obama's Google+ page

Feb 26, 2012 by Marianne Barriaux
US President Barack Obama at the University of Miami on February 23. Hundreds of Chinese have flooded Obama's Google+ page, apparently taking advantage of a glitch in China's censorship system to post about human rights and green cards.

Hundreds of Chinese have flooded US President Barack Obama's Google+ page, apparently taking advantage of a glitch in China's censorship system to post about human rights and green cards.

Google+ -- the US Internet giant's social networking site -- has been unavailable in since it was launched last year, apparently blocked by the nation's strict censorship system, dubbed "the Great Firewall of China."

But over the past few days, Chinese netizens say they have unexpectedly managed to get onto the site, and have decided to concentrate their presence on Obama's page.

"Many people don't understand the meaning why all Chinese are coming here. We envy American people their democracy and freedom!" one netizen said in English under Obama's latest posting about his campaign's bumper stickers.

The comments centre on freedom of expression and human rights, as well as more mundane issues such as how to get US green cards.

"We are not barbaric people, we are just suppressed," one netizen wrote, while others called on the US president to "come and liberate China".

It is hard to prove if all those commenting are from China, but most write in simplified Chinese characters -- used in the mainland as opposed to Hong Kong -- and expressions are similar to those found on the nation's microblogs.

It is also difficult to determine what in the Firewall they are taking advantage of.

The sign-in page of social networking site Google+. On Sunday, Google+ appeared to be available in China on some people's mobile devices but not on fixed computers -- a fact confirmed by some netizens on Obama's page.

On Sunday, + appeared to be available in China on some people's but not on fixed computers -- a fact confirmed by some netizens on Obama's page.

Others in China, however, were still unable to access the site, which remained blocked on their mobiles along with Facebook, and YouTube.

Some netizens urged Obama to help free activists such as blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who is currently under , or Liu Xiaobo, the jailed winner.

Many of those posting comments also enquired about -- US permanent residency certificates -- asking Obama to send them one along with his re-election campaign stickers.

One called on the US president to join China's ruling Communist Party.

"We will give you a big red flower, which you can wear on your chest, and honourably give you a party certificate (completely free membership for the first year)," said an online user named Duke Dai.

As part of its censorship system, China blocks most content it considers politically sensitive in its traditional media and on the Internet.

Twitter and Facebook, for instance, were made unavailable in China in 2009 apparently over official concerns that people had instigated deadly ethnic riots in the country's northwestern region of Xinjiang using the sites.

Google, meanwhile, has had a difficult time in China since January 2010, when it said it was no longer willing to self-censor content to comply with government rules.

After a few months, it decided to automatically re-route users of its mainland search engine to its uncensored site in Hong Kong and has since lost ground in China, which has the world's largest number of web users.

Some of the Chinese netizens railed against their country's censorship on Obama's page.

"We hate GFW (Great Firewall). We 'occupy President Obama' like performance art," one online user said.

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User comments : 7

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DontBeBlind
2.5 / 5 (6) Feb 26, 2012
lol what is Obama going to do for you? What a joke. Next he will appologize to china for allowing them to post on his page. Sorry my little chiness freinds you wasted your 1 call from jail on the wrong noob.
Conner
3 / 5 (4) Feb 26, 2012
Summary: "People are reaching out for help? LoL! Stupid people! Also Obama sux!"

On the actual article: I wonder what happened that their firewall broke down for some people. I'm hoping this is a sign that it isn't scaling as fast as user demand is growing.
Voluble
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2012
Being trapped under tyrannical leaders and asking Obama for help is like being savaged by a wolf and yelling for help from a bear. He will only back popular movements that are inimical to the US, its values and its interests. Friendly movements against our enemies such as in Iran or China are just out of luck.

If Chinese citizens would like help from Obama I suggest they join the Muslim Brotherhood.
bredmond
5 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2012
Being trapped under tyrannical leaders...Friendly movements against our enemies such as in Iran or China are just out of luck.


i think tyrannical is a strong word, in china, the daily lives of most people are very free. I think the biggest problem for most people on a regular basis is that they have to pander to minor officials if they want to have a business, and that legal help is not very accessable because it is overridden if it is in the interests of some hotshot local official and because claims pass through government judgment, and with many claims to file, it can impede the process. A bigger threat than all that on a daily basis is from other chinese citizens who mistreat the system with low quality products, and poor work conditions.

I wouldn't qualify China as a enemy, and i don't think the U.S. Government does either. They are more like a high security risk neighbor and trading partner.
DirtySquirties
1 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2012
You know, I hate it when I see Americans assume our President has way more power than he really has, but it is a shame people from other countries think the same thing too. Fact is, the president can't do a heck of a lot.
bredmond
not rated yet Feb 28, 2012
You know, I hate it when I see Americans assume our President has way more power than he really has, but it is a shame people from other countries think the same thing too. Fact is, the president can't do a heck of a lot.


yeah, in china people seem to think we have a centralized government. i always have to tell everybody that we have lots of strong powers: corporations, PACs, the media, etc.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (2) Feb 29, 2012
Cmon, the Chinese are obviously trolling.