The Missing China Mystery!

This blog has received visits from 99 different countries, including some from really obscure places, but not from the most populous country on earth. Let's take a look at this crazy situation.

As I mentioned in this recent post, I've been using the tool Flag Counter since last November. Part of what Flag Counter does is create a map with all the flags I've collected on it, and right now I have 99. Take a look at the map:

Now, quite a few of these flags are not from independent countries, (Jersey, Martinique, Macau, etc.), so I can't claim to have fully collected half of the world's 196 states. (On the other hand, I haven't had Flag Counter working for most of this blog's existence, and there are some hits that can't be tracked to their origin.) All the same, a lot of the world looks pretty well filled-in, since it's generally smaller countries that I'm more likely to have missed. South America is looking good, for example, even though I still don't have Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, Paraguay or Uruguay. West Africa looks good, while Southern Africa is unfortunately very empty, with only South Africa's flag present. That said, there is one country above all that is by far the most conspicuously missing: China.

Just take a look at Asia: China is entirely surrounded on its east and south, including the occupied polities of Hong Kong and Macau and the long-claimed polity of Taiwan. I even have had visits from Nepal and Tajikistan, although Mongolia and Kazakhstan are big spaces to be filled. That said, the combined population of Mongolia and Kazakhstan is less than 20 million, so China has over seventy times more people. That's 1.34 billion, the largest country in the world.

Why have none of those people visited my blog? Well, to tell you the truth, before today I had no idea.

If you had had me guess, I would've said the number one reason might be language. Using English or French on the internet makes one much more likely to encounter my blog, and I don't know that it's even possible to access my blog without at least using roman letters. Today, however, I found out from here and elsewhere that Blogger has actually been blocked for some time by the Great Firewall of China. Blogspot address blogs like mine are inaccessible in China, and so the missing China mystery was pretty easily solved.

But if my own small China mystery was simply solved, dealing with the future of Chinese censorship may be quite problematic indeed. Let's see what happens in the years to come.

[Update: Very strangely, Flag Counter counted my first visit from China right after I made this post. So... perhaps the blog isn't impossible to reach from China after all, or perhaps there are censors who check in on anyone talking about Chinese censorship. Now another mystery is born.]