Friday, October 30, 2009

China Blocks Access to Berlin Wall Anniversary Twitter Page


When I was in Berlin for the second time, a one-week visit in March 2001, I was only slightly luckier than when I visited a couple months earlier, at least when it comes to finding remaining portions of the now-defunct Berlin Wall. Despite plenty of time spent in the very impressive (historically speaking) government quarter in Berlin Mitte -- the central area of the capital city -- and the nearby Unter den Linden or the beautiful Tiergarten, I saw nothing of the remains of the Berlin Wall. The closest I came was a visit to former East Berlin to interview someone for Internet World magazine, whose offices were one block away from Mauer Park ("mauer" is German for "wall," so you get the memorial idea of the park, right?).

But I don't recall being able to find anything that looked like that hated wall. Objectively, that's probably a good thing. Germans are in no danger of forgetting about the division of their country in the Cold War aftermath of World War II. And, frankly, finding remants of it wasn't my top priority. When I travel, I prefer to get off the beaten path and wander into lesser-known neighborhoods and find restaurants and bookstores along the streets and just stop in to see what I'll find.

It was a nice trip to what has become a normal (thank goodness) city.

So the news that China has been blocking a Twitter page dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall seems like one more example of China acting like a hyper-sensitive child. Apparently, China's autocratic rulers were discomfited because Chinese were using the Twitter page to voice their not-so-nice views of the Chinese Communist government. Wonder which government will be most bothered by Twitter -- China or Iran?

Hmmm, maybe China's just upset that they're going to stop getting free money from Germany under the new government.
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