In June 2004, Google announced that it had taken a stake in Baidu. com, its leading Chinese counterpart. as a prelude to cooperation between the two competitor& The size of the minority holding and investment cost were undisclosed, Google is one of right companies that have, invested in the meet recent round of Baidu fund-raising, all interested in the fast- growing Chinese market sod in working with local partners. Baidu was established less than five veers ago and earned some 80 percent of its revenues in 2003 from selling search-specific links, with the balance from advertising and corporate services.
Already one of the strongest players in the market, Baida claims over 48 percent of searches by around 100 million Chinese internet users. Google is reckoned to be in second place with a share of slightly less than 30 percent (Reuvid and Li, 2005 p. 567). Chess Systems Inc helped China build in filtering system that controls access by Chinese people to the Net. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and other U. S. companies help China restrict access to the Internet. Chinese sites of Yahoo and WSN comply with local law and omit news stories that offend the government.
Microsoft said it censored terms like ‘freedom’ and “democracy” on its Chinese portal. Microsoft also shut down a Chinese journalist’s blog on its MSN Spaces site that criticized the Chinese government. Yahoo is believed to have provided information to the Chinese government that helped identify at least one person who was then jailed for his writing. Yahoo, describing the consequences as ‘serious and distressing,” said it was requited to comply with Chinese law, and the company had not been told the reason for the government request for the information.
Google held out longer, refusing to censor its wards engine, although it had taken some steps toward restricting access to information in China. Google did filter material on the Chinese version of Google News, and it had become part owner of a Chinese search engine company that complies with the government’s censorship requirements. In 2006, Google disappointed many free-speech and human rights advocates by announcing that it was introducing a Chinese version in China, Google’s, that would comply with Chinese law.
Its search results will not show sites with banned content. Google said it would include notes to users indicating that some results are not shown. Since China censors messages about censorship in China, it was not clear how well this would work (Bease, 2007 p. 174). We consider some issues these activities and incidents raise. If companies do business within another country, they must follow the laws of that country. A government might need to identify a person whom it suspects of stalking, fraud, posting child pornography, or other crimes.
In most countries, a service provider might want to, and a law might require it to, provide information in those cases. Thus, tile agreement to operate in China and block material the government considers sensitive was a decision that some access is better than no access (Bease, 2007 p. 175). There are already language-specific, non-English Internet search engines. in China, which in late 2004 surpassed Japan as the nation with the world’s second-largest total Internet population, three domestic companies were doing battle with the Chinese version of Google. Baidu.
com is styled after Google and had an index of 220 million web pages in March 2004, scheduled to grow to 300 million in the next few months”27 A second company, 372LC0m, was bought by Yahoo in November 2003 for $120 million cash (Marling, 2006 p. 186). In July 2004, Google entered into a further deal, this time with Netease, one of China’s biggest internet portals, to provide web-page search services and to cooperate in online advertising under a strategic partnership. Netease, together with its competitors Sina. com and Hohu. com, is a U. S-listed company. Moreover, at the beginning of July, Sina.
corn agreed to acquire Davidhill Capital Inc, the Internet and mobile phone messaging Technology Company, for up to US$36 million (Marling, 2006 p. 186). The Google—Netease partnership strikes hard at Zhongsou. com, the local Chinese search technology company, which previously provided the search functions for all three of the lending Chinese portals. Its market share had already been eroded b the growing popularity of Baidu (Reuvid and Li, 2005 p. 568). At about the same time, Yahoo United States announced that it was dropping Google and developing its own search engine.
However, as 3721. com founder Zhou Hongyi pointed out, it was taking extraordinary efforts to meld his technology with that of Yahoo, presumably be- cause of language and artificial intelligence assumptions. The third domestic search engine, Zhongsou (China Search), had the largest index in March 2004—280 million websites—and was the search agent for such major Chinese portals as Sina. com, Sohu. com, and NetEase. com. Since then, however, Sohu dropped Zhongou to develop its own search engine. Baidu, which made its first profit in 2003, was said to be a takeover target of Google.
In a possible feint, Google introduced its own Chinese search engine in February 2004. Whether it grows through imitation, competition, or acquisition, Google will have a significant impact on China, which will become by 2010 the world’s largest Internet user base. The way that Google’s rules drive its searches is Google’s gold mine, and those rules derive from American cultural context (Marling, 2006 p. 186). The “Great Firewall of China” restricts not only access to the internet, with its 123 million users in China, but also to newspapers, magazines, books, television and radio broadcasts, and film.
During 2006, the Chinese government and Communist party officials moved aggressively to plug the wall’s holes and to punish transgressors. Premier Wen Jiabao justified the renewed crackdown, stating, “Internet censorship is necessary to safeguard national, social and collective interests. ” Journalists, bloggers, webmasters, writers, and editors, who send news out of China or who merely debate politically sensitive ideas among themselves, face punishments ranging from sudden unemployment to long prison terms.
Censors use sophisticated titters, blocking, and internet police to limit incoming information (Human Rights Watch, 2007 p. 262). The Chinese effort to censor the Internet is a feat of technology, legislation and manpower. According to the BBC, no single law exists to permit this mass invasion of privacy and proscription of free speech. Rather, hundreds of articles in dozens of pieces of legislation work to obfuscate the mandate of the government to maintain political order through censorship.
According to Internet Filtering in China in 2004—2005: A Country Study, the most rigorous survey of Chinese internet filtering to date, China’s censorship regime extends from the fat pipe backbone to the Street cyber cafe. Chinese communications infrastructure allows packets of data to be filtered at ‘choke points’ designed into the network, while on the Street liability for prohibited content is extended onto multiple parties — author, host, reader — to chilling effect. The ramifications of this system, as the Open Net Initiative’s John Parley (2004; cited in Giddens, 2006 p.
617) stressed when he delivered a report to the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission in April, “should be of concern to anyone who believes in participatory democracy”. The ONI (surveillance group) found that 60 percent of sites relating to opposition political parties were blocked, as were 90 per cent of sites detailing the Nine Commentaries, a series of columns about the Chinese Communist Party published by the Hong Kong-based Epoch Times and associated by some with the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong (Giddens, 2006 p. 617).
During the first half of 2006, Chinese officials shut down more than 700 online forums and ordered eight search engines to filter “subversive and sensitive content” based on 10,000 key words. In July, a website called Century China and its eight online forums, popular among Chinese intellectuals, was shut down for illegally providing news. In September, two chief editors of Wang VI (NetEase), a top internet portal, were fired for allowing an unauthorized opinion poll. Blogs from prominent commentators and activists continued to be regularly shut down.
By their own admission, global corporations such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo! , and Skype continue to assist in the Chinese government’s system of arbitrary and opaque political censorship in an effort to ingratiate their companies with Chinese regulators. Yahoo! released the identity of private users to Chinese authorities, contributing to four critics’ lengthy prison sentences. Microsoft and Google censor searches for what they think the government considers sensitive terms (Human Rights Watch, 2007 p.
263). Although a Chinese government Information Office official said “no one in China had been arrested simply because he or she said something on the internet,” subversion charges in 2006 led to 10, 12, four and two-year sentences respectively for Internet writers Ren Ziyuan, Li Jianqiang, Guo Qlzhen, and U Vuanlong. The CCP and government authorities grew less tolerant of newspapers’ exposes of official corruption, rural protests, suspect land deals, and legal misconduct.
In January 2006, on orders from party officials, China Youth Daily temporarily closed Freezing Point (Bing dian), its weekly supplement, ostensibly for running an article asserting that Chinese textbooks rewrote history (Human Rights Watch, 2007 p. 262). China has also impeded circulation of several kinds of news events. A proposed new “Law on the Handling of Sudden Incidents” would require that journalists obtain permission before reporting news of disasters such as floods, public health emergencies, mining accidents, and public order disturbances.
In September 2006, new measures mandated that foreign news agencies not sell stories directly to Chinese outlets but submit them first to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, for clearance and subsequent distribution. Foreign journalists are not exempt from harassment, detention, and occasional violence. In August, the Foreign Correspondent Club of China (FCCC) reported “widespread detentions” and some instances of physical assaults of foreign reporters.
Chinese nationals working for foreign newspapers are especially vulnerable. In September, Zhao Yan, a researcher for the New York Times, was sentenced to three years on fraud charges following a trial marred by due process violations (Human Rights Watch, 2007 p. 262). Consider that China Telecom Corporation is investing US$100 million in a secure IPv6 system called China. Net Next Carrying Network, or CN2. Today, China’s “Great Firewall” can inspect URL data and keywords such as Fahin and intercept data entering the country.
However, in a nation short on IP addresses, IPv6 architecture could allow states to track such information requests right to the house, computer, and maybe the person who initiated the search. Instead of having ISPs (10 arcane detective work via tracing IP numbers to a neighborhood, the new technology could give governments command-and-control capabilities with greater automation than ever before (Garland, 2007p. 166). Responding to this challenge, the Chinese government faces a conundrum. The Internet offers a world of information, the essential component for any economy seeking to compete in the global market.
Yet news of the outside world threatens the social order its leadership seeks to maintain. In 2002, Beijing responded to this exigency by cutting off access to the Google search engine for 2 weeks and installing so-called “information purifiers” in the many Internet cafes sprouting up throughout the country. Even so, many Chinese have discovered ways to avoid government-controlled connections to the net, relying on servers based outside of the country. According to one observer, the most popular phrase on search engines in China is ‘proxy server” (Wood and Smith, 2005 p. 174)
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