Since the recent mass demonstration in Iran against the Islamic Regime during the commemoration of Ashura, dozens of Chinese “netizens” have joined the #iranelection Twitter community. They have added their own new hashtag, #CN4Iran, and even built a new site to support the struggle of the Iranian people, titled CN4Iran.org. Global Voices interviewed one of the cyber activists behind this initiative.
When and where was your site created and what are its main objectives?
Our site was created in Dec 28, 2009, hosted by Dreamhost.com (US). Our objective is to support the Iranian people for liberty and democracy, learn from them and spread the experiences to Chinese people.
Please explain us who is involved in this project, and do you have any organizational support?
The creator is CaoTaMaDe (nickname), we also have some webmasters and volunteers. You can see more details on Cn4Iran. Until now, we have NO organizational support.
Have you been in touch with Iranian cyber activists? What are your sources and who is your target?
We followed some Iranian people [on Twitter]. Sometimes we send message such as: How are you? Thank you. The major source is the Twitter users we followed, such as @@persian2english, @oxfordgirl, @oli2be, @tehranweekly. We also collect news from foreign media, for example, CNN.com. Our target is the Chinese cyber citizen, firstly the Chinese users on twitter.com, and then other Chinese Internet users who read our information. Also, we infrequently have some worldwide readers, and we tell them the reaction in China (by translating some Chinese news into English).
Do you see any similarity between Chinese and Iranian censorship? What about cyber activism?
We know that many web sites have been blocked by Iran Regime, which is similar to China. I guess they also have a censor system for keyword filtering, like the Great Firewall (GFW) in China. Such situation is quite common in countries like Iran and China.
About the cyber activism, I think it's viable. However, the governmental censor becomes more and more severe. We hope people from different fileds can have his/her own voice, even if it is noisy voice, but is must be heard. We also hope more people can make contribution, the collaboration in China or ever in the whole world can make the target to be achieved as quick as possible. Twitter.com can easily connect us together, this is a great choice and beginning.
How have been feedback so far?
We received some responses, like helping us to re-design the picture for supporting Iranian people, and helping us to translate English to Chinese. More feedback is the RT on twitter.com.