China – Losing its Grip on the Net

China’s microbloggers quadrupled in 2011, report says

Use of weibo has been growing rapidly in China

The number of microbloggers in China quadrupled in 2011, according to a think-tank report.

Nearly half of China’s 513 million netizens used weibo sites – Twitter equivalents – last year compared to 63 million in 2010, the China Internet Network Information Center report said.

Chinese microbloggers took to the platform to voice opinions on protests, corruption scandals and major events.

The number of Internet users represents 38.3% of the 1.3bn population.

This jump in the number of microblog users has made it harder for China to impose strict controls on the web.

Last year was a watershed year for users of weibo sites such as those run by Sina Corp and Tencent Holdings.

Major events such as the Wenzhou train crash in July, a hit-and-run that left a severely injured toddler to be ignored in the road and mass protests in Dalian and Wukan, among others, fuelled discussion on the sites.

Growing popularity

Late last year several Chinese cities, including Beijing and Shanghai, began requiring weibo users to register their real names.

Critics said this was an attempt to deter postings critical of the government and make it easier for such posts to be tracked.

Microblogging services were also ordered to monitor content more closely and remove objectionable posts more quickly.

The number of Internet users also rose 12.2% in 2010, according to the official data.

Source: BBC News Read more

Opinion:

As I said in yesterday’s post, the internet is getting too big to control; many countries who are trying to control internet content are finding this out.

China is trying, but obviously failing to control criticism of the government and policies through the net.

America would find the same problem.

The internet represents free speech, the voice of the people. Any government who finds that the internet is critical of the politicians or policies must realise that something is wrong; obviously the people are not happy and after all aren’t governments supposed to represent the people?

Attempts to control or censor the net can only serve to exacerbate the situation.

It’s high time that governments realised that the internet represents the voice of the people and is a barometer of potential civil unrest. The obvious thing to do would be to heed the internet’s warnings and fix what is wrong rather than making it worse.

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  1. end of the internet

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