May 01, 2004

Bo ke: weblog in Chinese -- Andrew Lih

From The Challenges of the New Media in China panel.

Isaac Mao: 300k bloggers in china -- 150k on Another problem in the Chinese blogosphere is that the communication tends to be one way from English blogs and media to Chinese blogs.


Isaac Mao, then Fons Tuinstra, then Andrew Lih (L to R)

Andrew Lih on wikis and wikipedia. Make it easy to do good, and make it about a neutral point of view. Make it copyleft.

He reports a five-fold increase in wikipedia use. It's a many-to-many participatory model. It has not been blocked by the PRC.

(We're going through speed presentations on the last panel, because the conference is a little behind. But really, we could have spent all day on the Public Opinion in Chinese Cyberspace panel earlier today, but they only had an hour. I was just getting a handle on the conflicts and issues they navigate as they deal with subtle pressures over content and online communications... when it ended... they talked about different levels of these pressures from the government, from minimal, to more intense issues and censorship. Also, sometime there is no government pressure, and instead they feel it companies like Intel and Microsoft. Also, one of them mentioned that often the regular press is stifled over some particular issue but that online publishers don't get any pressure for writing on the same issues. This may be due to the fact that there are 78 million users, and 40 million computers, so it's less than 10% of the populace that even gets online.

Also, it's the 10th year anniversary of internet access in China. To support the business of the internet, short text messages are encouraged, on cell phones usually, but the discussion is "bad" and so higher level discussion and understanding is often lost. Also, with 40 million computers/78 million users, life in internet cafe's is very controlled and surveilled by the government.)

Madanmohan Rao, research director of the Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, from India is speed reading his presentation. It's hot in the auditorium (they forgot the airconditioning for the weekend -- thanks to the engineering department who is renting the hall to the jschool...). He's talking about content management, weblogs, sharing knowledge, wireless. Yeah, everyone's all for it. We vote yes. Okay, it's grueling. But we're hanging on.

Next up: Fons Tuinstra, chief editor of Chinabiz Ltd. "Blogging from China." Says that people don't take blogging seriously, because there are few bloggers. Is 300k bloggers a lot? Yeah, it's a lot more than when he first arrived in Shanghai. -- we were asked to look at it, but it's been blocked, so we get nothing. Maybe the maker of that site will switch to next.

Andrew Lih: I consider Howard Dean the Napster of elections. We still have P2P, even though Napster is gone.

Xiao Qiang: (in closing) I think the last panel sounds quite technologically deterministic to me. It's a long way to say that the Chinese society can be so free. But I don't want to end on a pessimistic note. I havne't been back to China since 1989. But at that time, the Chinese were so fixed in their social structure, they belonged to their communes or whatever, and there was very little horizontal communcation, and no technology underpinning the market economy. But now, how many people have cell phones, how many are on the internet, how many travel? Yes, still totalitarian. But it's more interconnected, from the bottom up, and sociologists will tell you that more interconnectedness means more openness. But is that good? Is it all for good. That's why we had this conversation here.... To follow China is to follow a great unfolding.

There's a group of us having dinner tonight at LaNote, organized by Kevin Wen, including Isaac and Liang Lu, along with about 45 other people, in Berkeley.

Posted by Mary Hodder at May 1, 2004 04:49 PM | TrackBack

" -- we were asked to look at it, but it's been blocked, so we get nothing. Maybe the maker of that site will switch to next."

The site is up today. But the link in your entry is incorrect (omitting the "s").

Thanks for these fine and helpful notes!

Posted by: the RaptorMage at May 3, 2004 01:03 PM


Posted by: zheng at May 4, 2004 06:08 PM


Posted by: chinanewsman at May 19, 2004 08:03 AM