Blog Death

I’ve noticed a trend lately. A lot of the blogs I used to read are dead or dying. I think it’s at least partly attributable to problems accessing Blogger in the PRC. This seems to be the reason for lack of updates on Sinobling, Hangzhou Lovin’, and Chabuduo. Laowai Monologues is somehow managing to get new posts up, but not without a lot of frustration.

This trouble started about the time my last host started going bad, I think. It’s almost certainly a result of the Chinese government’s efforts at controlling online information, intended or not. Is this getting much attention? Is it not a big deal unless it’s a total block? Maybe I just missed it. How many other bloggers in the PRC are having this connectivity issue with Blogger?

In other bad news, Chinese blogger Leylop has recently suffered a total loss. Her camera (and all her pictures) were stolen in Europe. When she got back, her hard drive failed and her website host lost all her data at about the same time. This effectively wiped out all her blog entries and her digital photography as well (which, I might add, was amazing stuff). She certainly has my sympathy.


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. I imagine much can be recovered from the Internet archive of her site:*/

    Replace with her previous URL(s) and she may be able to recover most of the text, if not the photos.

  2. There was one thing I learned from the early days of web design – avoid wasting Internet “space”. Wasted space is never a good thing and you’re right, John: there are so many Chinese blogs that have not been updated. It’s pathetic, really.

    And hearing about Leylop’s loss makes me want to request everyone who reads her blog to donate towards a “ Digital Camera Fund” … but you have to look at her “losses” this way – when one door closes, another opens. She’ll find another outlet, don’t you worry.

    • Wilson
  3. I don’t see how not updating your weblog is pathetic, or how it is a waste of space (not that you can waste something that is basically infinite, but whatever). Maintaining a website is a personal things, and not maintaining it is a personal decision.

    And while “dead” weblogs are not entertaining day-to-day (since they have no new content), they still have value in that they are a snapshot of a person’s life. The great part about the internet, with its virtually unlimited “real estate,” is that such information can live on despite its author’s neglect.

  4. I just checked the webarchive, there’s a lot to recover there, including pics.

  5. I’ve also heard about the same problem with accessing’s site from another Chinese blogger in Shanghai a few weeks ago. It seems it is still possible to update a blog via blogger’s API (i.e. using desktop client such as wbloggar). On the other hand, one can also make a new post via email. It’s only good for plain text without any html code since blogger screws all the code up. And you need to set it up in your blogger setup first before you can use it.

  6. Da Xiangchang Says: October 12, 2004 at 6:46 am

    Very depressing. If there’s one thing the Chinese government needs to understand, it’s that economic growth cannot be sustained forever without an equally vigorous intellectual development. The strength of America, after all, isn’t only in its economic power; rather, its culture is far more vibrant and alive than any other country in the world. Culture feeds the economy, and the economy feeds the culture. And in America, blogs play an increasingly relevant role in news-reporting and -checking. Pity the Chinese government doesn’t understand this. Actually, they probably do. That’s why they’re banning blogs. But the economy of China will suffer because of such crackdown. Sigh . . .

  7. Da,

    Run for mayor. You seem to know all.

  8. Da Xiangchang Says: October 12, 2004 at 1:13 pm

    All I’m saying is that with the prevalence of blogs, governments can no longer control and regulate information. Anyone with a computer and modem can blab all they want about what they see as bullshit, whether the said bullshit comes from their next-door neighbor, the media, or the government. Justifiably, then, the Chinese government is deathly afraid of blogs. I could sort of understand their POV since they’re trying to open up China economically while keeping rigid control over the population politically. From their POV, without a strong government, China’s going to go down the toilet. Workable consensual government for China, they believe, is a few decades off. And you know, they might be right. Democracy is no cure-all for people who don’t know what to do with it. (I’m INTENSELY curious to see how it’s going to work out in Afghanistan and Iraq!)

    So, of course, blogs are indeed dangerous. After all, blogs have forever changed how Americans look at the news these days. You don’t have to buy the bullshit of the mainstream media anymore, and the most popular bloggers–like, say, Andrew Sullivan–have readerships that rival the circulation of medium-size-city newspapers. If blogs can see through the lies of ostensibly respectable news programs like “60 Minutes,” they sure as hell can see through the bullshit of the Chinese government. If I were some commie apparatchik, I’d be shitting in my pants and banning blogs too!

  9. Anonymous Says: October 12, 2004 at 5:18 pm


  10. I noticed that also. many of your “students & people” has stopped blogging or has been deleted (Heather, Leylop etc.) btw in google’s cache there some stuff of leylop, be quick or it will be lost forever).

    The solution for the lost information is just simply backup 🙂 or host on your own webspace. (i lost a lot of pictures also caused by a virus. Photo’s of regina, heather, dora and more… all your students :P). I also noticed that only broadband is controlled by PRC and not dialup (I have reached and in sh with dailup:). )

    Oh btw john you dont mind if i “abuse” your name for my blog ^^. Your “infection” has too much effect on many people that has caused me also to start a blog ( or

    Greetz Dutch “Fake” Chinese 🙂

  11. is back online…

  12. my echo point is dead. wanna turn down the free service, and my blog is among the sacrifice.

    echo point has never ever got much attention, and most of my posts and pictures have another version on my computer. So it’s not all bad. (Not serious as leylop at all, and it seems that i lost nothing except the pink & gray index page and those links)
    But I still feel frustrated.
    Feel like a homeless dog online.

  13. heather, I started reading echo_point after the Ladytron concert and when I checked today I was disappointed to find it was missing. I’m sorry to hear about the trouble with mblog, I hope you can find a home soon.

  14. Hey John,
    Where is Greg of Sinobling???
    Is he still in HZ???

  15. same here…back in China,they cant accese the blog in singapore…sob sob…

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