China embraces yet restricts Net

china From the New York Times, via Houston Chronicle: “Last December, China’s minister of foreign affairs, Li Zhaoxing, sat down for a remarkably candid online chat with Chinese Internet users.

The exchange was the first time that a senior Chinese official had talked online with ordinary citizens, but its occasion belied the restrictive government’s tenuous relationship with the Internet.

Indeed, as the number of people online in China has quintupled during the past four years, the government has shown itself to be committed to two concrete, and sometimes competing, goals: strategically deploying the Internet to economic advantage while clamping down — with surveillance, filters and prison sentences — on undesirable content and use.

Both trends, experts say, are likely to continue.”

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