You’re not self censoring enough

September 4, 2007

The Chinese government has read the riot act to the search engines, again.  At least in public they seem to be keeping quiet about the political angle, concentrating on decency instead.  “The search engines know what they should do” said the official…

It’s interesting that this news story is appearing on a Chinese website (even if it is in English)  and it purports to be from the Shanghai Daily.  The tone of the article, although not full of the Western denunciations of censorship, is still interesting for the fact that censorship is mentioned.


Google cries Uncle (Sam)

August 29, 2007

Google desperately wants to break into China.  Google only finds itself falling behind Baidu, at least relatively.  Instead of trying to make their pile in China they are obsessed with being number one. 

Now Eric Schmidt is angling to get the American government to intervene, calling Chinese net censorship a trade barrier.  Then the plan is for the American government to intervene against Chinese imports.

This is mad for two reasons.  Firstly Google could harm American citizens through their special pleading, and these American citizens – even in these protectionist times – may not appreciate this. 

Secondly countries and societies have a perfect right what they wish to restrict.  Google doesn’t like gambling and gun sites, which is commendable.  Almost no country will allow certain types of explicit images – and prosecute people to the ends of the earth for offering or even viewing these.  The American government stops free speech with British gambling sites.

China is no different.  More repressive, yes.  But national sovereignty means that things such as net censorship are rightly the matter of the governments.

China’s industrial revolution

August 3, 2007

What is hyper-speed growth?  Seeking Alpha thinks it knows.

 The most important part of China’s growth is that it is not just fast but that it is not new.  China at the moment is simply copying Western success – just being ruthlessly efficient efficient about it.  Depopulating the countryside, rewarding capital and all the other stages of the early industrial revolution.

Always remember that about China, its just doing what fifty countries have done before – just on a bigger scale and a little bit faster.  It’s when China starts acting differently then the bets are off

Starbucks and China: The forgotten dimension

July 21, 2007

The case about Starbucks leaving the forbidden city has been portrayed as a case of Chinese cultural chauvinism or pride (although why there are so many Starbucks in China is not explained). 

What is important is that a petition of 500,000 was started on the internet against a government policy. 

There’s  a similar story about a cat rescue co-ordinated over the internet, citizen activism is a real story in at least some parts of China.  This may be a sign of greater freedom, or it may be seen as a threat to the regime.

Although the internet is by no means as free as in the West, it is still free in comparison to what people imagine the Chinese internet to be.

Evading the Great Firewall

July 21, 2007

An interesting question has been posted on the forum about evading the great firewall:

If anyone has other ideas, or other interesting questions feel free to post.

By the way I realise that there are often one or two spam articles up, but this is the price for allowing guest posting is that some people will put up spam.  When the user base grows then I will stop guests posting.  Until then just don’t buy the hoodia or nearly genuine watches.

Internet blamed for teenage pregnancies in Shanghai

July 20, 2007

Teenage pregnancy is becoming a problem in the coastal cities, as apparantly is internet dating.

It’s actually a serious issue as the anti-pornography side to Chinese internet censorship is a far more important side to the “Great Firewall of China” than many in the West credit.  This could be uncontrollable internally, although a lot of “web 2.0” applications may suffer in the meantime as the Chinese government sees a non-political reason to crack down on social media.

Chinese internet censorship is far more a case of fears about social stability than it is about guilt over student protests.

Google Earth spots Chinese submarine

July 19, 2007

A rather comical piece about how Google Earth managed to break the news of a Chinese nuclear submarine.