Clubhouse In China: Firewall Is Hardly The End

“It is already hard to get a U.S. Apple account and now you are going to block me? This is insane.” said an anonymous in the chatroom.

Half of my chatrooms on my Clubhouse front page are Mandarin-spoken, and today those chatrooms which usually focused on Taboo topics related to celebrities, related to politics, and related to financial markets are shifting their discussion to the firewalls newly-established to avoid free, anonymous but contentious conversations. 

When Clubhouse created a threshold with their membership policy, it is also adding more mystery to the network itself, no matter deliberately or not.  With this niche attracting more people to join, eBay has several options of the clubhouse invites, pricing ranging from 10 dollars to more than a hundred. And in China, the Clubhouse hashtag, now is blocked, has countless readers including social media users who were biding for an invite.

Clubhouse itself is built by exclusiveness for Chinese internet users. A U.S. apple account, a stable VPN, or virtual private network, being able to understand the English interface, and for sure, you need to know that Clubhouse exist has shut the door upon more than 90% percent of the ordinary Chinese’s faces. A large number of people in the chatroom are international Chinese students around the world and influencers who or whose team has studying abroad experience. Possiblities are there, normal people and starlets appeared on reality shows mingles, legal people of celebrities sneaked in the chatroom, doing the old-fashioned espionage which will only be detected by industries insiders after they left, celebrites under pseudonyms join quietly, which is the other way around from the moguls and influencers, they don’t want people to notice their presences. Clubhouse condensed bourgeois in every way you can imagine.

Instead of listening to speeches on Crypto and Ethereum, learning Spanish, or talking about the premiere of the Netflix show with Zendaya, the mandarin-spoken chatrooms are always trying their best to provoke discussions that irritate the other, no matter in or good way or not. “I’m actually happy to see the firewall is being built taller and taller,” said one anonymous in the specific room about the Chinese firewall, who is also the CEO of a Chinese startup internet company, “because that also means it will fall faster than we expected.” It’s hard to imagine that Chinese internet users have such a typical American dream related to free speech, their exciting discussions can be considered as abreactions of under suppression if we consider the matter in a pessimistic way.

Retrieving the near history of the Internet world, when the Chinese cannot access Google, they created Baidu, when they cannot watch Netflix, they create their own streaming, when they find even they use Tinder, their experience can never be compared with those of Western countries, so they created Tantan. Censorship’s intervention under firewall is an already predicted circumstance, but still tons of people flock in or on their way. Maybe China will create their own Clubhouse even it will be a different story. But beginning with the clubhouse, declaring humans’ desire to chitchat with or related to one another, the firewall will never be the end.




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