I previously mentioned the absence of a Chinese flag in my set of flags on the right (here). But now look: we have the flag of the People's Republic of China, currently with five visitors! Yippee! So people from China can finally read my blog. Splendid!
Well, no, actually. This past week, I was in Nanning, the capital of the Guangxi Autonomous Region in south China. And it is not possible to access my blog from Nanning. Moreover, it seems that there are huge gaps in what people in China can access.
Now, I have no delusions into believing that my blog is essential reading for students of linguistics in China. But what about other materials? What about John Wells's Phonetic Blog (here), which has some valuable discussions about phonetics? Not available. What about NGram, the excellent utility from Google that lets you look at the way the usage of words has changed over the past 200 years (here)? Not available.
My heart goes out to the thousands, or maybe it is millions, of students and academics in China who are trying so desperately to participate in research, but don't have access to the resources they need.
More about that in a subsequent blog.
What I would love to know is this: those five visitors from China, how did you manage to access the site when others are not able to? I would love to understand the mechanics of the Web better.