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FIREWALL

How an Art Exhibition in New York Led to Harassment from Chinese Authorities

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 26, 2016
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This story has all the elements of a 1990s cyberpunk thriller: hackers, foreign government agents, and multinational corporations. But this is terrifying reality in 2016. A collaboration between American and Chinese activists, artists, and programmers has resulted in FIREWALL, a pop-up internet cafe/art installation that lays bare the censored version of the internet mainland Chinese citizens have access to. When visitors search a term at one of the consoles, they see the results in both Google and state-controlled Chinese equivalent Baidu.. That gesture appears innocent enough—after all, FIREWALL merely presents the internet as curated by the Chinese state. Those very censors, however, seem pretty unhappy about it.

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