Recent Mechanisms of State Control over the Chinese Internet – Xiao Qiang

The following is the prepared statement of Xiao Qiang before the U.S. – China Economic and Security Review Commission on Access to Information in the People’s Republic of China: Chairman Bartholomew, Commissioner Houston, and Distinguished Commission members, My name is Xiao Qiang. I am the Director of the China Internet Project of the Graduate School of Journalism of UC Berkeley, and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, an independent news aggregator. Over the last four years, my research has focused on China’s information revolution and its impact, including how the Chinese government actually controls the Internet, and the creative use of interactive media to advance the world’s understanding of China. It is an honor to be among my distinguished fellow panelists, in front of this important commission. In today’s testimony, I would like to summarize the general mechanisms of Internet control by the Party-state of the People’s Republic of China, especially the recent trend of intensified censorship measures. Let me start with some basic data on China’s Internet development. The Internet has been continuing to grow rapidly in China. According to the latest survey from the official China Internet Network Information Center, there were about 162 million internet users in China by the end of June 2007, and an estimated 122 million Chinese have broadband access to the Internet. Compare with the estimated current Internet population in the United States, which ranges from 165 million to 210 million, China is set to overtake the U.S. in the total number of Internet users very soon. I also want to point out the related and even more phenomenal growth in the mobile phone market in China. Currently there are more than 440 million mobile phone users in China, many of whom carry phones with wireless and short message services (SMS) ...
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