The “father” of China’s system of internet controls was defeated by the very own system he helped create in a bout of hilarious irony.
Fang Binxing was giving a speech at the Harbin Institute of Technology (HIT) on the topic of internet security when the system blocked him from entering a South Korean website, according to Hong Kong-based Ming Pao website.
Mr. Fang was attempting to access the South Korean site during his presentation to offer it to his audience as an example of another nation that uses similar censorship system as his, Ming Pao reported.
It was according to Mr. Fang himself that South Korea practices similar internet controls. Although it is known that South Korea does utilize some censorship tools to block sensitive subject matter such as websites that praise North Korea, it does not come close to China’s level of control over what its people have access to online.
When Mr. Fang was ironically blocked from getting to the site, he was forced – in full view of his audience – to set up a virtual private network (VPN) in order to continue his speech. Creating VPNs is a common practice in China as a way to circumvent the Great Firewall. Due to this embarrassing move, HIT decided to forgo the Q&A segment of Mr. Fang’s presentation.
Mr. Fang, who has long been a controversial figure for his internet controls system, has since been heavily mocked on Chinese social media. One such user wrote, “Blocked by his own system… This is just too hilarious,” and another blogger on the site Sina Weibo taunted Mr. Fang for being so dedicated to his work that he didn’t leave a backdoor in the system, “even for himself”.