Netizens wrote the following eulogy about the father of China’s Great Firewall: Despised for His Life’s Work, Condemned to a Cursed Name. The father of the Great Firewall of China and principal of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication, Fang Binxing was wishing students a Happy Chinese Year on Weibo (a Chinese blog) when his comments were met with 250,000 replies from students telling the president to “get lost.”
Fang’s resignation as principal due to illness is causing much celebration by Chinese netizens.
Why did the students treat their president in such a way?
In February 2011, Global Times published a report in English detailing how Fang, 53, had acknowledged in public that he was indeed the head designer of China’s Great Firewall (GFW, as Chinese netizens call it).
Access to Google, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and many other popular global websites are all denied inside China, thanks to the successful blocking by the Great Firewall.
Popular news about Fang includes a story of a student who threw an egg and shoes at him during a speech at Wuhan University. The egg missed, but one shoe reportedly hit Fang in the chest, and the student, who called himself “Hanyunyi”, escaped. He became an instant Internet celebrity in China.
A netizen with the alias “Angels in Hell” said: “To the chief architect of the infamous ‘Great Firewall,’ thank you for designing the online version of the ‘Berlin Wall,’ which has forced hundreds of thousands of netizens to learn how to break through the Internet blockade. One day, the online ‘Berlin Wall’ will collapse, and you will forever be nailed to the pillar of shame in history!”
The irony is that Fang himself is now stuck behind the wall that he built. The fact that he also needs anti-censorship software to break through the Internet blockade comes as a surprise to many people.
In an interview with the Global Times, Fang admitted that he had six VPN (virtual private network) accounts for his computer at home. However, he denied that he uses anti-censorship software to access content beyond the firewall. He claims that he uses both GFW and VPN for the sole purpose of “testing which of the two is better.”
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