China: November 1, 2004

Archives

Over the Summer, the government inspected the nation's 1.8 million Internet cafes. With over a hundred million regular Internet users, Chinese depend on the Internet cafes more than they do PCs at home or work. There's one Internet cafe for every 600 Chinese, and even the most out of the way towns have them. Many are ramshackle affairs, with a few PCs operating over dial up lines, although those in big cities often dozens of PCs, running on high speed lines (mainly for gaming.) The government crackdown was meant to put the fear of retribution into the cafe owners, and encourage them to work with the government to prevent "illegal" Internet use (porn, viewing foreign news sources that the government tries to block, and anti-government activity in general.) About one percent of the Internet cafes were ordered shut until the owners could deal with technical, financial or management problems the inspectors detected. All but 1,600 of the 18,000 cafes closed, were eventually allowed to reopen.  The Internet cafe owners were suitably cowed, but they have not been able to stop the free flow of information. In many places, the Internet cafes have simply added to the growing police corruption, as prosperous Internet entrepreneurs find it easier to just bribe the cops to stay away.

The government doesn't want to pull the plug on the Internet, lest it have a negative impact on the economy. But as long as Chinese have Internet access, the government no longer has a monopoly on the news. That means problems the government would rather keep quiet (corruption, riots, serial killers, natural disasters), are now out of control. And so is the government's ability to deal with potential political unrest. 

 

Article Archive

China: Current 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 


X

ad
0
20

Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close