What's your most embarrassing memory on homecoming day to your alma mater? For Fang Binxing, his visit on Sunday was supposed to be a inspiration to China's future cybersecurity experts but it went, well, less than great.
As "Father of China's Great Firewall," Fang is being ridiculed online after he reportedly tried and failed to bypass the blockade he built in front of a crowd on Sunday.
A picture of the lecture has been circulated on Weibo, presumably taken by one of the students present, showing a page reading "The page can't be found" in Chinese on a projector screen, just below a red banner heralding the "Outstanding Alumnus"' speech.
This is super ironic for many Chinese internet users, who have been using all sorts of paid or unpaid VPN services just to connect to Facebook, receive important emails on Gmail, or do academic research on Google, which are all blocked in China.
Posts from the students present who got an impromptu lesson how to use a VPN to dodge the Great Firewall have mostly disappeared on Weibo. But that left internet users to wonder: "ok....fine, but what VPN service did he use?"
For blocking access to the rest of the world, Fang is hated enough to be also dubbed as "People's Enemy" on Chinese internet.
How unpopular is he? He's so unpopular that in 2011, a female student at Huazhong University of Science and Technology threw a shoe and hit Fang when he was giving a lecture at another university.
In 2013, when Fang resigned as the head of a Beijing university for health issues, thousands of internet users flooded his Weibo account saying, "bless the devil of illness overcome you," which became the preferred phrase when he does something annoying.
Some users chided that the hate towards Fang is a bit much. But mostly people are just really mad that he could have done something great — instead of building the Great Firewall. But like this user said, it's no use to blame one single person.
Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.
Contact Beimeng Fu at email@example.com.
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