Chinese Blogger Conference 2007 - some thoughts

Subversive slides at BloggerCon - image from smartneddy

The 2007 Chinese Bloggers Conference in Beijing last weekend was, like the 2006 event, an eclectic gathering of geeks, Internet entrepreneurs, bloggers, social activists and NGO bloggers, teachers and educators, medium people and free speech advocates.

This year's event attracted more than 400 people to a conference room in a big office building near Tsinghua University. Last year's event in Hangzhou had to be moved to a new venue after a surprise 'electricity cut' that seemed to have been caused by the local authorities. There was no such interference during this years event.

The focus of the two day conference was the panel discussions and keynote speeches in the main room, but some of the most interesting discussions happened in small groups outside, and during the dinners and lunches.

There was also a large screen in the main room displaying a continually-updated series of messages sent by mobile phone and IM via the servers of local Twitter clone Jiwai. This screen soon started resembling the comments section of a particularly anarchic blog, with conference attendees sending sarcastic comments and shout-outs that were only sometimes related to the discussions happening on stage.

As Rebecca MacKinnon comments, it is "one of the most egalitarian conferences on the planet".

The event was organized completely by volunteers. It drew together hundreds of people from highly diverse backgrounds for a weekend of discussions covering everything from freedom of speech and the responsibilities of bloggers and the media to ways of using blogs and wikis to raise the level of education in the countryside. It was very easy to meet people: all the attendees are friendly and nobody stands on ceremony.

Like last year, your correspondent left the event feeling extraordinarily optimistic about China.

John Kennedy live blogged the whole conference here.
You can read Rebecca MacKinnon's take on the event here.
Joshua China wrote a funny review of it called Attention Deficit Disorder China Blog Conference, and there is a comprehensive summary in two parts by David Feng here and here.
There are comments from China Law Blog's Steve Dickinson here.
There are thousands of photos of the event on here.

Finally, Feng37 has a huge collection of links to both English and Chinese posts about the conference here.

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