Steven Cherry: The Net Effect
From Spectrum online: As China’s Internet gets a much-needed makeover, will the new network promote freedom or curtail it?
China’s open-market reforms, begun a quarter-century ago, launched an unprecedented social experiment. Never in modern history has there been a truly enduring technological and economic world power that wasn’t a democracy”a free economy without free speech.
For the experiment’s first 15 years, the Chinese government had no trouble keeping a firm grip on the reins of the news media. Then came the Internet. Could the government open the floodgates to the waves of information washing up on every shore yet keep out the ideas it was afraid of, such as ones about sexuality, democracy, religious expression, and Taiwanese independence?