Friday, December 18, 2009

Less Entertaining Options

These last two weeks the Chinese government is tightening its control over the Internet even further.

There has been an ongoing campaign to shut down pornography sites, those that are deemed "too yellow" in reference to imperial times when emperors were entitled to frolic with as many concubines as he wished.

And related to that crackdown are websites that offer free downloads of movies, television shows and music.

Young people are most annoyed by this, not necessarily cutting off the availability of porn material, but access to western television shows, movies and materials they can't get in China.

They are so used to being able to access things free or for a very small price that it has put a massive dent into their entertainment activities. Many like downloading movies at work and watching them after work or at home, or adding songs to their iPods and MP3 players.

One could look at this and say that perhaps China is now finally owning up to its blatant disregard of the copyright issue and is now forcing its people to pay royalties or fees for things they have scammed for free for a while.

Or it could be that the government is finding more ways of cutting off people from the outside world.

And in the last few days the government has announced that no one can have personal websites. If people want to register domain names, they must use a company name to do so, which means showing a company license.

This has also led to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who either have blogs or want to share their love of a certain hobby, or non-profits who want to engage with others socially cannot do so. It also affects those who have small businesses selling products or services on the Chinese version of eBay called Taobao who won't be able to effectively market themselves anymore.

Basically this is the strangling of democratization of the Internet in China; it cannot be used to find other like-minded people or to swap recipes or share one's pictures online anymore, or rant about their grievances they have with the authorities. Chinese cyberspace is only for those who are entitled to the privilege of using it.

Anger is only going to boil over if people can't complain or communicate online, their last outlet to vent their frustrations.

Some people in Beijing must really be paranoid about the Internet...

1 comment:

g.g. said...

too much freedom to an unruly and poorly educated populace is dangerous.
may be this the only measure to curb the "yellow tide" which corrupts the young minds. cant blame the government too much for that.