Ineffective Blocking

Finally back home. Couldn’t find an internet cafe with a speed high enough to access my blog, let alone write on it. And even when I am home, my blog works so sporadically, I’m never sure if I’m being blocked or not here. Speaking of internet blocking, this is a pretty common question about ministry in China – what’s blocked and what’s not?

I’m not the most avid web surfer, so I can’t give a full report on the subject. But from where I’m sitting, the blocking seems completely random and illogical. Most American churches’ web pages have no problem here. There’s plenty of Chinese pages as well that contain the plan of salvation, doctrinal information, and complete searchable Bibles in Mandarin. Really, the blocking here is a major freedom of speech issue. Blogs are sometimes a problem (hence my constant worries about not being able to get on my own anymore). For example, none of Google’s blogs (blogspot.com) are accessible here. Nor is their video content available. But youtube.com is fully functional.

A couple observations from this internet blocking:

First, the issue is hardly just about the Gospel. The Chinese government’s primary reason for internet filtering isn’t to keep out Christianity. Always important to remember about closed-country paranoia: there’s usually bigger fish to fry. Though it’s a boost to my pride to talk about government agents monitoring my every move, the truth is that I register pretty low on their awareness scale.

Second, the internet is a huge frontier for evangelism primarily because it’s a huge frontier for everything! Including blocking… There’s just too many pages out there to reasonably filter out information. You can filter out the big ones, but there’s too many small ones to keep out all the contraband. When we’re talking about a country of hundreds of millions, we have to start thinking about ways to broadcast the Gospel to many of them at a time.

Third, “the Chinese people are all so hungry for the Gospel” line once again proves to be a little less than accurate. A couple searches on the internet would yield them all the answers they could ever hope to have about their Creator, their eternity, and their purpose. So why isn’t this information swirling around China in waves of forwarded emails? Not that many people searching as we would love to believe. The point is, the minds of the people are blinded. Exposure to the Word of God is what gives them a real desire to search for Him.

Once again, the answer is more complicated than we would first assume. Blocking by the government isn‘t the reason the internet isn’t doing more for God’s kingdom in China. Media is great, but not more of what’s already there. Posting the Gospel on some link off your church’s web page isn’t going to change the world. Turns out, even in cyberspace, we’re required to “go” and reach the world. So what’s the answer? What’s the role of media in the evangelization of China? I wish I knew the full answer. In a future post, I’ll write about some ideas we’ve had and some possibilities that we pray the Lord will use in the future.

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2 Comments on “Ineffective Blocking”

  1. D.. September 12, 2007 at 2:36 pm #

    Welcome back. I’ve missed your blog.

  2. Ben September 12, 2007 at 2:50 pm #

    Yeah there’s this book out there i think called “On the Edge” and this chapter written by this *cough* great guy about the internet in china. lol anyways, good to hear from ya; i wish more people could realize the truths about the Christian movement in China

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