China this week revised upward its growth rate for 1979-2004 by an additional 0.2 percentage point . to an average of 9.6 percent per year . in accordance with the findings of its first national economic survey. But while the economy is expanding at an explosive pace, the government is fearful that new technology may make control of an increasingly restive population more difficult than ever.
The Chinese authorities are enlisting the help of foreign corporations who desire a presence in the country to police speech and expression at the same time as they continue a crackdown on the news media.
See also “The Great Firewall of China” from Business Week:
It’s no secret that Western Internet companies have to hew to the party line if they want to do business in China. Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), and scores of other outfits, both domestic and foreign, have made concessions to China’s censors. The latest high-profile example: In December, Microsoft’s (MSFT) MSN shut down a Chinese blogger’s site at the government’s request.
Microsoft maintains it had no choice. “We only remove content if the order comes from the appropriate regulatory authority,” says Brooke Richardson, group product manager for MSN.
Getting a phone call from the government is one part of the picture. What few Westerners know is the size and scope of China’s censorship machine and the process by which multinationals, however reluctantly, censor themselves. Few also know that China’s censors have kept up with changing technologies, from cell phone text messaging to blogs.