With nowhere else to go, young people in China are going online for fun, the New York Times reports:
Google’s decision last month to remove some of its operations from China has overshadowed a startling dynamic at work in this country, a place where young people complain that there is not a lot to do: the Internet, already a potent social force here, has become the country’s prime entertainment service.
Frustrated with media censorship, bland programming on state-run television and limits on the number of foreign films allowed to be shown in China each year, young people are logging onto the Web and downloading alternatives. Homegrown Web sites like Baidu, Tencent and Sina.com have captured millions of Chinese youths obsessed with online games, pirated movies and music, the raising of virtual vegetables, microblogging and instant messaging.
Even though Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked by censors here, Chinese social networking sites like QQ Zone, Tianya.cn and Kaixin001.com are flourishing in surprisingly inventive ways.
A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group found that people in China (which now has nearly 400 million Internet users) are far more connected than Americans, and that globally only the Japanese spend more time on the Web.