Digital China: Ten Things Worth Knowing about the Chinese Internet

Jeffrey Wasserstrom and Kate Merkel-Hess write on the Huffington Post:

Thanks largely to the Olympics, 2008 will go down in history as a turning point year for China — or, rather, one when the country passed several milestones. It’ll be remembered as a turning point year in Chinese sports history, due to the country getting its first chance to host the Games, and the history of Beijing’s redevelopment, due to all of that has been torn down and built up to ready the city to play host. 2008 will go down as a turning point year in the history of cross-strait relations as well, thanks to the resumption today, after over half-a-century, of regularly scheduled Taiwan-mainland flights. Here, though, we focus on still another thing that 2008 is likely to be remembered as: a turning point year for the Chinese Internet.

Consider how many Internet-related developments have already taken place. In January, YouTube videos helped publicize Shanghai protests against extensions of a high-speed train line. In February, China replaced America as the country with the most Internet users. In March and April, bloggers and hackers made headlines, as the furor over the Tibet riots and the roughing up of a Chinese torchbearer in Paris played out in cyberspace as well as on the ground. In May, Wen Jiabao became China’s first leader with a Facebook page. In June, Hu Jintao became China’s first leader to respond to questions online.

July 8, 2008 2:23 PM
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