Web Site “Maintenance”

China began to block many foreign web sites again after the temporary lift of ban during the olympics. No big deal; no surprise there. What’s funny is the comment made by a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, when he was asked about this by foreign reporters. Here is the New York Times article.

“Concerning your particular question, we’re not really familiar with the details,” said a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, who declined to give his name. “Web site maintenance is not within the job purview of the Foreign Ministry.”

There are two levels of retardedness here. First, he’s saying he can’t comment because blocking web sites is not part of the job of the Foreign Ministry. Damn right it isn’t! Just like sending a space craft is not your job; building a dam is not your job; cracking down some protests is not your job; or hosting the olympics is not your job. Among a billion things that are going on in China every day, few actually involve the employees of the Foreign Ministry. But isn’t it your job to comment on them when you are asked by reporters? If you can get away with saying that’s not your job, then I WANT YOUR job, because that has to be the easiest job on the face of the earth, and apparently as a government official it pays well.

Second, did he really say “Web Site Maintenance”? My guess is that this is a small error in translation. I think he meant “web site regulation.” If that is the case, then there is no joke here. However, if he did mean “maintenance,” then my question is does China even own those web sites? No, it doesn’t! That infamous “the Great Fire Wall” is only an eyelid. You can close it to prevent your eyes from seeing things, but you can’t change what’s out there. I can’t imagine that China can actually “maintain” foreign media’s web site. But I am now really curious about what would happen if China can edit those sites for, say, a week. It must be highly entertaining.

Lastly, if that spokesman has a brain, I feel sorry for him for having a duty to say things that he knows are retarded. If he doesn’t have a brain, well, no surprise there again.


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