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Meet the 22-year-old geek behind the Chinese Jasmine Revolution

Sydney Morning Herald | April 7, 2011
A Chinese man who goes by the internet alias "Forest Intelligence" is a member of one group spreading anonymous calls online for pro-democracy protests in China.

Collectively, the group's postings are often clever with a touch of sarcasm. People are urged to "stroll" and "smile" rather than protest.

"We are making a new history of revolution by a unique way: We use the sound of laughter, singing and salutations instead of the sound of guns, cannons and warplanes!" a notice dated March 1 said.

Online security is a major concern, and group members are constantly in touch. On Sunday, Forest Intelligence showed an AP reporter his laptop, which has a virtual machine installed - an operating system within the computer's normal operating system that provides an extra layer of protection against hackers.

As soon as he logged on, Skype and Gmail chat services blinked with new messages.

"Are you back yet?" asked Xiaomo, who then relayed news that activist-artist Ai Weiwei was prevented from getting on a flight to Hong Kong. Less than an hour later, the news was posted on the group's website.

On Tuesday, the group released an internet safety manual to help Chinese users circumvent censors and issued another statement deploring the current crackdown. It warned that, if activists were not released by April 10, they would retaliate by using "search engine optimisation" techniques so that when Chinese do online searches for names of officials, the results would link to reports about corruption.

The group has no illusions that change, if it does come, will happen soon, but is willing to wait years to gather momentum.

"Some people say this movement is going to die and this movement is not going to be successful like that in Tunisia or Egypt. But in those countries, it took three or four years for the people to make preparations and finally, there was a peaceful transition," Hua Ge said.

"It may take a period of time for the people to wake up, so the longer we continue our efforts the more people will know about the situation and join us."

 

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