Sunday, December 18, 2005

Top 10 Internet Events in China 2005

Top 10 Events that Shaped the Internetscape in China for better or worse in the year of 2005:

10. Fudan Scissorhands
Fudan University graduate student Zhang Liangliang tortured over 30 cats over a period of less than half year. Zhang bragged himself as the Fudan Scissorhands, after he hurt a cat with a long sharp scissor. He was caught red hand on the last cat, whose pictures of a cat with bleeding eyes were circulating around the world. The cat did not survive despite rescue efforts made by local animal lovers.

9. Chen Yi vs. Netizen Audit
Chen Yi, a Southwest University student offered herself for bid on Sep 15th, 2005, to raise money for her mother's liver transplant surgery, which drew concerns over proper managing of the donations account. Right before a self-appointed investigator team about to make public their findings, Chen's mother died in an unrelated surgery. The incident generated big debate over whether the donors have says over the usage of their donations.

8. Bright Dairy
Bright Dairy (Guangming Milk) was caught on tape for making milk product with re-manufactured rotten materials. The program made by Zheng Zhou TV station was aired on Jun 7th, 2005. Instead of correcting the wrong doings, Bright Dairy chose to wage a full scale bluff war with its superior political resources. One of its ex-CEO was Jiang Zemin. The initial TV report was cut short, and traditional media was shut up, but Internet message boards pushed for a broad disclosure of the scandal. It is widely believed that Bright Dairy will never recover in the retail sector. Bright Dairy was the forth largest milk manufacture in China with plants all over the country.

7. Real Names for University BBS IDs
The Higher Education Ministry ordered all Electronic Bulletin Board System operated by students employ real name policy. Beginning in March, most BBSs allow only current registered students to register online IDs, and many of them no longer allow off-campus access.

6. MSN Spaces
Chinese Internet enthusiasts adopted blogging as early as their oversea counterparts, however, it is the introduction MSN Space which made blogging a habit among young Chinese. It seems every thirteen years old boys and girls get their spaces overnight.

5. Podcasting
Web 2.0 is a very cool word in Chinese IT 2005. While everybody have been talking about it, a few worked on it. An example is, where members make comments on books they have been read. Also check out the podcasting page at the High School Affiliated to Fudan University.

4. Yahoo! The Collaborator
For a while, Chinese political dissidents rely on foreign Internet services providers to avoid political censorship. They were shocked when a journalist Shi Tao of the China Business Herald was sentenced by the Changsha Intermediate People's Court to 10 years in jail on the charge of divulging state secrets on Apr 30th, 2005. Yahoo! Holding (Hong Kong) provided the communism prosecutors with Mr. Shi's detailed online log entries, which helped to identify and convict him. Mr. Shi Tao shouldn't have used a Yahoo EMail account.

Although Yahoo's Jerry Young brushed off the responsibility as 'complying with local law', Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) is not obligated to operate within the laws of China or to cooperate with Chinese police, because its legal entity is not in mainland China, according to Mr. Guo Guoting, attorney for Shi Tao.

Listen carefully Yahoo, there was a huge gap between doing nothing to help and stabbing on the back. You crossed the line, and this is getting very personal. If all you care are profits, we netizens who do have a moral consciousness vow to see you pay, including but not limited to never using any products bearing your name again. Shame on you Yahoo! Shame on you! boingboing

3. Kai-Fu Lee joined Google
In Microsoft vs. Google over Lee's jumping boat, Lee characterized his role at Microsoft Research Asia as no official job function, he is seen as the God Father of the institute, and the idol of Chinese young talents in the field. His job function is very clear at Google, which is recruiting. Google announced Lee's appointment as the president of Google China, and Lee started on Sep 15th, 2005.

2. US Company Helps Block VoIP
Las Vegas Based Verso tested software with their Chinese partners on Blocking Skype. The high price charged by Chinese telecommunication companies is responsible for the unbalanced rate between China and the outside world. For example, it costs $0.02 per minute to make a phone call from the US to China, while $0.20 per minute the other way. VoIP casts even greater fear on the Chinese telecommunication companies. Although there are several telecommunication operators in China, their international policy is closely coordinated by the China Ministry of Information Industry, and form a monopoly in reality.

1. Baidu IPO Inc is the largest Internet search engine company in China. Baidu grows with suspicious ties to the Chinese government. It was not a surprise when Google was blocked by the Chinese government in 2002, however, inquiries to Google were redirected to a few Chinese search engines, with the great majority went to Baidu. The IPO was big success at the beginning with a 354% first day rise on Aug 8th, 2005. The initial price was $27, and the highest price was $153.98. The price has been sliding ever since. Google holds around 2.6% stake in Baidu.

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