The Adopt a Blog project began in response to the second major blocking measure taken by the government of the People's Republic of China against blogging services. The first such measure was taken against Blogger's free Blogspot hosting service on January 8, 2003. That block is still in place today. The more recent block of Typepad blogs began on March 25, 2004, and was removed c. January 7, 2005 for unknown reasons. At the same time, blog service providers in China had stepped-up their content filtering effort. Since 2003, a number of Chinese blogs had been shut down by their local telecommunications company or internet service providers for their political content. In April 2005, China's Ministry of Information Industry required all website owners who use an independent virtual server and domain names to register their complete identity, leaving Chinese bloggers with no other options to blog anonymously.
The Adopt a Blog project is not a political agenda seeking to oppose the PRC or its policies. It is not confined to any particular country. It was founded strictly to uphold free speech, regardless of content. Its main idea is: we spread out our blogs, and when they block a blog, we move it elsewhere.
We hope that people who shared the same belief in free speech on-line can share resources with bloggers who want to express themselves freely, so that they can continue to blog without fear of retribution.
One of the reasons that blogs have been so easy to block is that their authors tend to use free services which keep many blogs together on one server. This works fine, until that server is blocked (as was the case with Blogspot and Typepad). If bloggers could all afford their own domain names hosted on different servers, blocking them all would become quite a headache for would-be blockers, especially considering the proliferation of blogs in recent years. Unfortunately, the expenses involved make that solution impractical.
Although the majority of bloggers use free hosting services, there are a large number of individuals that buy their own domains and pay for their own hosting. These individuals often use blogging clients such as Blogger, Movable Type, or WordPress to maintain their websites. In many cases, these individuals are paying for way more space on the server than they actually use. Now consider that even a blog that has been going for 2 years, updated several times a week, containing some photos, in its entirety is not likely to take up as much as 10 MB of space online.
How it works
Enter the Adopt a Blog program. The solution is free and painless for all involved. This is how it works. A blog (or any website, really) using an independent hosting service hosts a blocked blog. (This simply means creating a subdirectory where the adopted blog can be published and store its files.) The host blog should not have a significant readership in the country where the adopted blog is blocked, because the host blog is running a (small) risk of being blocked in that country. The adopted blog is run completely independently of its host, via a blog client such as Blogger, Movable Type, or WordPress (if the host has installed Movable Type or Word Press and is willing to share the engine). The adopted blog should link back to its host on its main page, and it would be appreciated if it also included a small Adopt a Blog banner to help promote awareness of the program. The host blog could also display a small Adopt a Blog banner or a link to its adopted blog if it so chose.
By distributing the blocked blogs across a variety of hosts, the task of blocking a large number of blogs becomes increasingly difficult. If any adopted blog is blocked, it can say its thank yous and farewells to its host and then move onto a new host. Those who appreciate irony may see the concept as something similar to the guerilla warfare tactics employed by Mao Zedong againt the KMT. When the weak face a strong threat, they do well to retreat.
While our strength lies in our unity, in this case our strength also lies in our division.
Why should I host anyone?
One might ask why anyone might choose to adopt a blog and host it for free. The answer: the Adopt a Blog project is centered on the issue of the individual's freedom of speech. Anyone who participates is making a strong statement in favor of free speech, as well as helping to further shape the internet as a tool for the free exchange of ideas internationally. The internet can be a very powerful force.
In most cases, hosting a blog requires very little online space, and practically zero maintenance after the initial setup. The host doesn't lose anything.
Support free speech. Support the Adopt a Blog project.
How do I participate?
Owners of the blocked blogs should take the initiative. They can find blogs or other sites with which they identify in some way in the list of available blog hosts. Then they can e-mail the webmaster, linking to this page and to their own blog, politely requesting adpotion.
Besides the blog transfer and setup, it would be greatly appreciated if the new host and adopted blog could link back to this page to spread the word. The banners and buttons to the left and below are for that purpose.
Below is the HTML code you can use (simply copy and paste) to put the banners on your site:
150 X 50 pixel banner:
120 X 40 pixel banner:
80 X 15 pixel button:
Original Concept by John Pasden (sinosplice.com), 2004. Hosting provided by Chris Saunders (irisnetwork.ca). Domain name provided by Brian Lance (lanceinfosys.com). Many thanks to the Chinese bloggers at cnblog.org for additional support. This template is based on Alternate 0, which is based on blogger template Minima. Thanks to Tadas Talaikis (netblot.com) and livinginchina.com for past support.
Original English text by John Pasden (sinosplice.com).