: In May 2008, China passed the United States in total
number of registered internet users. The surging Internet use has given more Chinese a chance to see how the rest of the world views them, and is helping shape the attitudes of younger generations. However, the Chinese government strictly controls internet access by blocking all non-approved sites. Controversial political topics, such as some Tibetan protest sites, are off limits. Margaret Warner, during her two week China visit, met with a cross-section of the internet community: students, art designers, bloggers, media professionals, Google managers, and Chinese officials.
In this video report, Margaret presents an intriguing analysis of the booming Chinese internet and the government’s efforts to control it.
“In order to enter China, we needed to comply with the Chinese laws, which means our servers need to be located in China and that our content, our search results, would be filtered, per local law and regulation.” - Kai-Fu Lee, President, Google China
“This concept of the role of the media to promote as opposed to inform is deeply rooted in Chinese tradition and culture. It was the role of the emperor’s wall posters centuries ago.” - Hung Huang, CEO, iLook Magazine
“Most students in China love our country and love our nation. So if we heard something untrue, we feel very angry.” - Li Yang, Student
“This is also a legacy of a society that’s not used to hearing disagreement, confrontation. They see it as bad. Some of them even see it as criminal.” - Melinda Liu of Newsweek
“Criticizing the government is not something new here. If you say 20 years ago, yes, it may be very rare. But today, when you open a newspaper, even traditional newspaper, you watch the newspaper, you can see a lot of negative comments.” - Wang Jianshou, Blogger
“I would love to be like Jon Stewart on ‘The Daily Show’ and be able to poke fun at everything. But that’s not something you can do. I think what is lost for China is the intellectual capacity to think. Ultimately what you have is generations and generations of Chinese who don’t know how to think for themselves.” - Hung Huang, CEO, China Interactive Media Group, iLook
“Development is the aim. We are facing many problems. I believe only development can provide solution. Reform is the driving force. We can’t afford to go too fast; too fast will disturb stability.” - Wu Jianmin, Former Ambassador, China
What do you know about China? What does it mean that China has a communist government? How do leaders try to control their people? Why would the Chinese government want to limit access to the Internet?
How would you answer Margaret Warner’s question: Why do Chinese young people so identify with their government, when young Americans tend to shrug off foreign criticism of U.S. policies like the Iraq war? Why does the Chinese government block certain web sites? Why doesn’t the U.S. government block web sites? Who does block websites in the U.S. and Why? Explain why you agree or disagree that the internet helps you “think for yourself?” How do the internet users you see in the video seem similar and/or different from internet users in our country. Do you think Chinese internet users are probably “safer” than U.S. users? Why or why not?
Video Transcript Growing Internet Use in China Reflects Changing Society
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