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China Blinders….

Yahoo! China

In today’s news: is a new blogging network for Chinese netizens. According to Reuters and Wired magazine the new service designed to give bloggers a place to exchange ideas and photos. Wired posited that this seemed pretty dangerous in light of Yahoo’s admitted role as a snitch for folks who might advocate such atrocities as democracy and human rights. While I like that they took a shot at Yahoo! for its ongoing hypocrisy, it seems typically naive and Sinophobic. QQ is the world’s third most popular IM service and easily the largest in China. It is an incredible pipeline for information among everyday Chinese citizens. There are now so many blogs, bulletin boards, cell phones and messaging services that the Chinese government is soon going to be busier than a one-armed paper hanger with the hives and hopefully unable to police even a fraction of the traffic out there. I am looking forward to more of the Chinese information/communication explosion. Wired and media worldwide ought to be applauding any vehicle that further taxes the censors and they should be providing links to groups that will help further that cause. But, it is easier to demonize a country we really know little about in the west and play to people’s perceptions of China.

While Yahoo is trying to get folks on the net the Chinese government is trying to get some of them off: The long anticipated restrictions on gaming will take effect on July 15th. Emboldened by a report that claims some 2,000,000 Chinese kids are addicted, the government will penalize minors who spend more then three hours a day playing video games like WoW online. The consequences: After three hours players will only earn half the credits they would normally accrue and if they play for five hours online they will stop earning any credits at all. It isn’t exactly a firing squad, but some folks are calling this a fascist policy. Should I be sent to Guantanamo for believing it is not really a very bad policy and the punishment seems pretty benign?

And speaking of fascists: Google, Yahoo! and MSN are taking heat from some bloggers for refusing to to sell ads for China is Evil. CIE is a pretty poorly done site with kind of rambling rant which includes: “ In recent years maoist rebels have tried to take over Nepal. I have no evidence that China is supporting them, but it is highly probable that they are.” It ain’t the International Herald Tribune and I am even not sure there enough content on his one page site to get him banned in Beijing. I say sell him the ads. As advocates of free speech we should be defending his right to sound dim, especially if he is paying for it.

But he seems typical of most Americans and bloggers to whom I speak with about China: It is a given, in my experience, that Westerners will buy information in any news release that helps paint China as a bastion of oppression and don’t do a lot of research on their own. My stories about China’s ills are syndicated 10 times more frequently than my calls for positive action.

I was guiding a class through keyword research in an SEO class today and looking up words relating to China/Asia. The results were telling:

China Politics receives 1,600 queries

Chinese Girls gets 61,000 searches a month by Americans in the three major engines

Human Rights China scores 2,345 hits

China News gets 17,000 visits

Chinese Zodiac slams in at 280,000

and Tiannanmen Square receives 15,000 searches a month…..

I get a bit weary of the negativity without good information or corresponding positive solutions. I heard candidate Obama on Letterman play to people’s fears that their jobs might be outsourced to China, but I heard little about how he’d further humanitarian ideals for an oppressed populace. China is new country we love to hate. But boycotting or ignoring issues and not participating in solutions isn’t going to do us, or the 1.3 billion folks in the Middle Kingdom, much good.

Scholarly and well articulated related articles: Mutant Frog (fantastic writing!), Simon World,

Blogroll Diving,cartoons,Censorship,China Editorials,China web 2.0,In the news,The Great Firewall,The Internet,中国

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  1. daveon Apr 11th 2007 at 2:16 pm

    With the censorship by Yahoo, Google, MSN, Baidu, and others I wonder if there is enough of a gap for a new model for social networking/news distribution.

    For example, imagine a blog system where you publish directly to a persons PDA. People request being added to your distribution list. Then, when you blog, that post is sent directly to everyone on your list. Friends would tell friends and your distribution list would grow.

    As far as the ‘Bad China’ mindset, I once tried to add a category to my blog (now defunct) called ‘Good News about China.’ I asked all my students to scan the English language news websites and send me articles that contained good news about China. I received 1 article forwarded by 1 student in over 4 months.

    When was the last time you heard a westerner quote Mao saying, ‘Women hold up half the sky.’ Mao the feminist doesn’t get a lot of press or blog attention.

    I think, for a lot of people, blogs provide an avenue to get rid of a lot of frustration. To do that, you gotta post the bad and evil stuff. Anti-Republican, anti-Democrat, anti-China, anti-America.

    Maybe that is a new term. Another anti-something blog.

  2. Dag Selanderon Apr 11th 2007 at 4:39 pm

    This post should be read by all that not can see the wonderful 1,395,200,000 chinese citizens; and that they are others than many of the CCP regime people… What we need to say these wonderful peoples is that we love them as you write in the three words
    //Dag Sr

  3. Bradon Apr 13th 2007 at 1:42 pm

    “When was the last time you heard a westerner quote Mao saying, ‘Women hold up half the sky.’ Mao the feminist doesn’t get a lot of press or blog attention.”

    I don’t think this statement makes him a “feminist”. Anyway just like any “woman’s” day, black history month, or hug a gay person day celebration, it is all for face and doesn’t mean people really mean it or truly care.

    Can a man be a masculinist and be received well in today’s P.C. mentality?

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