The Internet: Changing China More Than China Changes It
With the Beijing Olympics very much round the corner, there's been a real slew of articles recently, reflecting a renewed and critical interest into what's really going on in China.
While the article quoted below really adds little new to the debate (see, for example, my own take on this from some years back) it does provide an insight into the situation: useful for the majority of people who don't yet understand what the conditions are in China.
Hong Bo, who blogs under the name Keso, says the opportunity to speak out online is cherished by a growing band of bloggers and BBS users.
"The Chinese internet has a distinctive character. Its one of the most strictly controlled in the world, but netizens' behaviour still confounds the government's expectations. They ban websites and delete posts, but they haven't got everything under control."
Isaac Mao, a pioneer blogger and researcher, says the number of users is less important than the quality of their online experience, where he says there is a big gap with the United States.
His organisation encourages netizens to connect their real and their virtual lives through blogs and discussions of social issues, including censorship.
"Rulers believe they can build a better system and get others to follow. But even though they want to change the internet, it is part of a globalised world and nobody can afford to build an isolated system.
"I believe the internet will change China more than China changes the internet."