Locsin breaks through ‘Great Firewall’ of China

Sofia Tomacruz
Locsin breaks through ‘Great Firewall’ of China

Manman Dejeto

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr initially bids farewell to Twitter before leaving for China, where the social media platform is blocked. But the silence doesn't last long.

Tweeting from the capital city of Beijing, Foreign Secretary Teodoro “Teddyboy” Locsin Jr appeared to have broken through the “Great Firewall” of China.

Prior to his departure as one of the Cabinet officials in President Rodrigo Duterte’s delegation to China, Locsin had initially bid farewell to his Twitter followers just after dawn on Tuesday, August 27.

“Going to Beijing. No Twitter there. See you in a week,” Locsin said.

 

But the silence did not last long.

By Wednesday night, August 28, Locsin was once again tweeting his trademark thoughts on current affairs of the Philippines such as the Good Conduct Time Allowance law and the recent public apology made by the owner of the Chinese ship involved in the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat in the West Philippine Sea last June. 

As secretary of foreign affairs, Locsin is known to use the social media platform to announce the filing of diplomatic protests and respond to reporters’ questions, among others.

Twitter users quickly took notice of the top diplomat’s active feed. “I figured it out,” Locsin said in response.

 

China is known to have tight controls over web content facilitated through sophisticated technology known as the “Great Firewall.” The system can monitor people’s internet use and block content and websites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google.

Chinese citizens with activity and posts considered unfavorable by government authorities may also face fines and even jail time.

One way internet users go around China’s firewall is through the use of a virtual private network (VPN) which allows people to access blocked websites.

Asked by a Twitter user if he accessed a VPN, however, Locsin played coy.

“What’s that?” he tweeted.

In the past, other foreign state officials such as US President Donald Trump had used platforms such as Twitter while in China.

President Duterte and his delegation are scheduled to be in China until Sunday, September 1. – Rappler.com 

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.