I came across something on Twitter last night that made me go “Wow!” It was this 4-minute video interview between Emily Chang of Bloomberg West and Dr. Kai-Fu Lee. Dr. Lee is a venture capitalist for Chinese mobile app developers with an impressive Google-Apple-Microsoft resume and was recently named one of TIME’s 100 most influential people of 2013: How Will Social Media Change China?

In my opinion, commentary on Chinese Internet censorship falls into three themes:

      • The morals and human rights of freedom of speech/information
      • Assertions that freedom of access to information strengthens national economies
      • Can U.S.-based websites that are popular everywhere but China get uncensored, and if so, will Chinese people even use them?

In the the video, Emily and Dr. Lee insightfully and accurately address all of the above themes in just over four minutes.

The only thing I would add is something that is always missing from media coverage on censorship in China: People outside China think that the government universally bars everyone from visiting certain websites, but actually you can access all the same sites as in the United States if you are privileged enough, meaning you have the money to pay for a VPN that makes your computer think it’s based outside China and the personal connections to find out which VPNs are the best to use at any given time. It’s more of a pain than using the Internet in the U.S., but it’s possible. Some businesses, such as global public relations agencies, pay for VPNs for their China offices’ computers so their workers can have unlimited website access.

Here is Emily and Dr. Lee’s full interview, which includes the segment above plus Dr. Lee’s thoughts on Apple and Google in China and China’s smartphone market: Kai-Fu Lee on China’s Mobile Market, Innovation

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee's Twitter Profile

Dr. Kai-Fu Lee's Weibo profile

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