I get stuff forwarded from various cyber-outposts about things that
folks think might interest me and my networks of contacts in my
capacity as their Designated Agricultural Cyberpunk.
One issue I'm watching carefully is the Chinese government's
crackdown on Internetted information. It started when a student
posted a bulletin board message calling for a political
demonstration. The speed and effectiveness of the spread of this
information via the Net led the guvmint to take action against
computer bulletin boards and their users, including ordering
technicians to monitor content and erase anything "offensive" or
anything outside "education and research," (such as politics) and
the Beijing U bulletin board was shut down entirely.
This comes shortly after China's government started using
gateway-blocking software to prevent user access to World Wide Web
sites, including those of human rights groups, exiled political
dissidents, erotica, the Taiwan guvmint's info office, and Western
sites, including Voice of America, CNN, /Washington Post/, and /LA
Times/. Web use has dropped significantly in China, according to
the /Washington Post/.
Is anyone here who can speak to how this might be affecting access
to sustainable ag information or the potential for that? I'm
thinking a lot these days of the Worldwatch Institute's reports on
agricultural practices in China and its 1996 /State of the World/
summary of the global need for sustainable ag practices. I'm
thinking about some of the dialogue right here on SANET around rBST
hitting the market in Feb of 94, and how quick some folks were to
label that technology assessment/adoption conversation "political"
because dissenting voices disagreed with those of certain
My innards suspect that sustainable ag could be seen as particularly
highly political in a context like China's...but I'm ignorant on
these issues and would like to learn more, since this is an issue
that's going to impact all of us greatly in the coming few decades.
Anybody who'd like to do a little dialogue with me on this via
e-mail, or who knows of resources, dink me. I am tracking the
Electronic Frontier Foundation's Web page (http://www.eff.org) on
this and other censorship issues. But I'd also like to know more
about China's actions within that government's social context, rather
than as a violation of my and others' U.S.-Constitution-derived,
Western-flavoured First-Amendment techno-Tom-Paine sensitivities.
If you want a copy of the /Washington Post/ story on this datelined
9/16 that I received electronically, let me know.
Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems/Ag Technology and Family Farm Institute
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
Othercide: for five centuries the rainbow has
been banned from America's sky. --Eduardo Galeano