A good friend of mine has been married to a Chinese lady for many years. They used to live in Shanghai, and moved a few months ago to Bahrain. We are still regularly in touch by email, and this was the mail I received this afternoon:
Since being in Bahrain and being exposed to “free” internet (we thought!), my wife has embarked on an exercise to investigate stories she has heard such as Tiannamen Square, forced abortions, arresting people for opinion, etc., but has never been able to confirm whilst living in China. I set her up with BBC China which is banned in China and we could never get before. From here she searched the links and in her endeavours she found a Chinese blog site from a former Shanghai resident now in Canada, that has links to research all the top topics. She sent this link via MSN messenger to her friend in Shanghai and they began to discuss what the wife had found there, and why the Shanghai girl could not access the site. Yesterday morning surfing the news over coffee her computer crashed and revealed a message in Chinese that told her she was accessing illegal web sites, and that the authorities were now tracking her. She was panicked at first and it took me 4 hours last night, nursing the computer while we watched TV, to run all the spy eraser, anti spam and virus removal tools i had to [use to] clear our tracks. She can now get on to BBC China, Yahoo China, and sina.com again but obviously she is too scared to revisit the blog site.
The long arm of communist control stretched to Bahrain – and gave us a scare!