China: Shoe attack on Great Firewall's designer

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The Independent Online

Chinese police are seeking the man who allegedly threw an egg and shoes at the computer scientist famous for designing the Great Firewall of China.

The attack – if true – is a particularly bold one for China and underscores how strongly people feel about the country's strict internet censorship.

A Twitter user posting under the name Hanunyi claimed that one of the shoes struck the computer expert Fang Binxing while he was visiting Wuhan University in Hubei province. Mr Fang, the president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, is popularly known as the father of the Great Firewall and is reviled by many Chinese Web users.

An officer at the Luojiashan Public Security Bureau confirmed that police were sent to the university to investigate a shoe-throwing incident involving Mr Fang.

Hanunyi posted a live account of the alleged incident on Twitter, including photos of the door to the lecture hall where it happened, a hand clutching an egg in preparation, and shoeless feet after he fled. "The egg missed the target. The first shoe hit the target. The second shoe was blocked by a man and a woman," he wrote.

Chinese internet filters routinely block searches for content that authorities deem too politically sensitive, such as the banned spiritual group Falun Gong or the jailed Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.