BEIJING: It probably surprised artist Ai Weiwei that his protest turned into a party. Weiwei had been calling for Chinese internet users to boycott the internet on July 1 (PP story from Tuesday) as an act of protesting the Chinese government’s new “Green Dam” filtering technology, intended to block pornography, but widely seen as a tool for censorship. But in a surprise turn around, the government withdrew the requirement just hours before the July 1 deadline would have required users to have installed the software. Weiwei and about 200 supporters had planned to convene at the “Green Zone” cafe in the Caochangdi Village art zone of Beijing for a day of denouncing censorship – some were dressed in t-shirts bearing Weiwei’s trademark, the word “F**k — but instead the unexpected news led to a day of celebration. Of course, Weiwei cannot take full credit for the turnaround: numerous US, European and Japanese trade organizations and corporations had also been vocal opponents of the software.
VIEW: Different variations of the Green Dam Girl (above) from blogger Hecaitou.
FLICKR: Has a blurry stream of the festivities, where it looks like there may very well have been as many journalists in attendance as protestors. (Ai Weiwei is the bearded, beefy man in the hot pink t-shirt.)