Ai Weiwei guest-edits the New Statesman, which pirates itself to evade the Great Firewall of China

Helen from the UK newspaper the New Statesman writes,

Today, the New Statesman is publishing an issue of the magazine guest-edited by the Chinese rebel artist Ai Weiwei. In the issue, Ai interviews the "blind dissident" Chen Guangcheng about the forced abortions and sterilisations required to enforce the one-child policy. He also speaks to a member of the "50 Cent party" - China's "paid trolls", given half a dollar every time they derail an online conversation. There are also pieces by human rights lawyers, activists, film makers and artists - as well as Ai's 170,000 Twitter followers giving their thoughts on the future of China.

We're expecting the NS website to be banned in China - and deleted from search results - after doing this, so it's vital to get the issue out by other means. We've created a PDF version in Mandarin, and uploaded it to PirateBay, and other torrent sites. That way, people on VPNs in China, can get it, and pass it around. The page I'm sending has information on how to do that. China wants to restrict its people from telling the truth about their lives. We hope the internet can set them free.

Taking on the "Great Firewall of China" (Thanks, Helen!)


  1. I would also think it would be good to have image-only versions of the article (i.e. PNGs, not PDFs) that can be hosted by sites like this without those sites becoming blocked by the firewall. 

    Search engines have no trouble reading PDFs as if they were plain text, but I think we’re not yet at the state where OCRed images are being returned in search engine results.

    1. Depends on the settings while generating the pdf, there’s an option to convert text to compressed image, (you know those annoying PDFS you can’t copy/paste from).

  2. The NewStatesman is spreading lies and perpetuating stereotypes about China, they should be ashamed of themselves.
    [.50 has been deposited to my account]

  3. If people in China have a VPN, they shouldn’t have any more trouble getting onto the NS website than they would to Pirate Bay. I suppose uploading it in PDF format will make it easier to spread it around in general, but it’s not like it’s opening it up to a new audience.

    Incidentally, it is ironic that this kind of action would probably be criticized as undue meddling in China’s internal affairs. It seems to be a good rule of thumb that the countries (or groups,for that matter) most concerned about their right to self determination are those least concerned about giving that same right to their citizens, as well as being those most willing to meddle in other’s affairs. Some similarity with religious groups talking about ‘freedom of conscience’, perhaps? 

  4. And this my friends is democracy.  And *THIS* is why things like pgp, as well as “pirates” exist.

    On another note there’s got to be a better word then “pirates”.

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