Thursday, February 09, 2006
A Different Kind of Spam
Last night around 7pm the land-line phone rang in my Beijing apartment, as I was getting ready for a dinner party. The caller ID indicated a number from overseas. I picked up the phone and found a pre-recorded Chinese program coming through the line. I was about to hang up on the spam call before I heard the name “Gao Zhisheng” mentioned in the program.
Gao was the dissident human rights lawyer I had interviewed before. So I listened to the whole 5-minute program over the phone. It was a broadcast from Radio Hope. The first part was about the government’s persecution of Falun Gong believers, and quoted extensively an interview with Gao who had represented some persecuted believers in court. The second part of the program told how a banned article in China, Examine CCP Nine Times, was causing massive numbers of communist party members to drop their party memberships. At the end of the program, I was prompted to press different buttons on my phone to withdraw my membership in the party or the Communist Youth League.
Regardless of how one feels about Falun Gong, we have to give them credits for their use of modern technology to penetrate China’s huge censorship barrier and spam their messages over phone lines. Yet somehow I felt apprehensive at the call, imagining all the photons and electrons moving over cross-Pacific cables and finagling their way into our apartment, as if I was besieged by an impending sense of gloom.
Oh well, I must have spent too much time reading Mao: The Untold Stories.