Since my Internet at the school has been almost unusable the last few days, thanks primarily to 'The Great Firewall of China', I decided to try my luck at one of the nearby Internet cafes. Actually, the only nearby Internet cafe from what I've found so far. These establishments have to be so many meters from schools and are to be completely hidden from public view. I found this one by accident (through a little bit of poking my nose into open doorways here and there).
When I found this place the first time it was a small miracle. I almost cried at the site of finding a bunch of fellow gamers in one area playing (some anyway) games that I also enjoyed. Finding a seat in the back after paying for an hour of time, I logged in and first checked my e-mail and all the usual items I normally do on a regular morning. Then I noticed on the desktop one of my favorite games of all-time, Heroes of Might and Magic III! Could this be?! I decided to run it and it indeed was Heroes III, so I played for a few minutes before deciding to check the daily news. The Chinese characters were getting to me, even though it was a game I knew so well I could have play it blindfolded.
I loaded up my personal bookmarks and started from the game related ones and worked my way to world news. It was then that I discovered a very disturbing article. In summary (and linked below), just yesterday a Chinese gamer sitting in an Internet cafe much like the one I was currently in, was angry that she couldn't play her favorite game (I hope it wasn't Heroes III) due to Internet entertainment site restrictions for the three days of morning for the earthquake victims. To make a long story short, she essentially praised her game time while attacking the authorities over a "minor thing" as Internet disruptions to honor the victims of the earthquake. She was carted off to jail a short while after being identified.
It was then that I hastily and quietly made an exit from the cafe. If they can cart of Chinese protesters like that, I didn't want to be mistaken for aggressively playing a game when I was supposed to be morning the countries fallen citizens, or reading questionable news about some lady protesting Chinese policies. In relation to this news article, my teaching group was told specifically to avoid any and all potential places that might bring unintentional trouble. I didn't want to take any chances during these few days, so I probably shouldn't have been there to begin with.
China is sometimes said to be the new the land of opportunities, if you're willing to spend some quality jail time after the fact. Seriously though, in this instance she rightfully deserved what she got (although I am stopping short of the 17,000 comments calling for her lynching).