China: September 1, 2004

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China now has 87 million internet users, a 28 percent increase over the last year. But about a quarter of the web sites are located (or at least registered) in the capital. The internet has become a major form of communication, and the government still cannot control it. Under the guise of cracking down on pornography, the government is implementing new controls on what is said, or done, by Chinese internet users. Part of that control is limiting the domain names, 382,000,  registered under its country level domain name, CN. These domains host only 627,000 websites. But many of these sites are among the most active in the world, getting nearly all their traffic from eager Chinese users. The government has long tracked down and arrested website owners who published information that was considered politically sensitive. Even factions within the government maneuver to get their opponents websites offline, or back online. The Chinese are pushing the state-of-the-art in content filtering, in an attempt to block access to foreign websites. It is the foreign web sites that are the most dangerous to government, as they people running them cannot be arrested.  

 

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