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It became clear pretty early this morning that the Bay Area SFT crew was going to be responsible for representing what has become, by most accounts, a sea of outrage directed toward Google for it's collusion with the Chinese Government's internet censorship project.
By 11am or so we had placards, a couple of media lists, three cars, a bunch of sharpie markers, handcuffs, and a bunch of junked computer keyboards and other parts from the late 90's. The idea was to help Google headquarters in Mountain View, CA along with an accurate visual depiction of what they will be doing to the 1 billion Chinese users who will rely on the search engine to provide them with information on the things that matter to their lives (things like free speech, forming unions and worker cooperatives, etc.).
We decided that handcuffs were really the catch all symbol of the day. On the one hand, you will be "handcuffed" in your search for information. You will visit a web page who's very mission statement involves "the free flow of information" and "accuracy" only to get back a bunch of crap generated by the CCP propaganda dept. when you type in anything having to do with human rights and political reform. On the other hand, having a company with the capicity to gather as much information on indivudual users as Google has makes you suspect that people are going to end up in actual handcuffs at some point. As the Boston Globe reported today, we can't have a company that's in charge of this much information sell out this quickly without being really worried.
The turnout at the protest was awesome for a few hours notice. All the ABC and NBC local affiliates were there, and Yangchen, an SFTer from Stanford, stepped to the mic and did a phenomenal job as spokeswoman. Alma just called to say that she ended up all over the 10 o'clock news looking all proffessional and articulate. According to the reporting, the "protestors sounded angry and betrayed."
We''ll check the papers tomorrow morning and post any print stories and video that we find. For now, good night and many thanks to all the dedicated young Tibetans in the Bay Area.
Tibet Justice Center