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The Internet in China: Civilian and Military Uses

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Christ was Socialist Donating Member (649 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:52 AM
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The Internet in China: Civilian and Military Uses
http://fmso.leavenworth.army.mil/FMSOPUBS/ISSUES/china-...

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Over the past few years, use of the Internet has skyrocketed in Mainland China. While a February 2000 Janes Intelligence Review article on China and Taiwan stated that China had 4 million Internet users, a survey for Greater China (China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan) in the fourth quarter of 2000 conducted by the online research company Interactive Audience Measurement Asia (Iamasia) found that there were 15.2 million Internet users in China, 2.2 million in Hong Kong, and 6.4 million in Taiwan. In the classroom, Iamasia noted Taiwan has 40% of its students using school facilities to go online, while only 21% do so in Hong Kong and only 8% in China.3

The web site Muzi.com noted in early 2001 that according to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) Internet users reached 22.5 million at the end of 2000, up from 8.9 million at the end of 1999 (when the Janes article mentioned above was probably written).4 The Internet service ChinaOnline considers these numbers dubious since CNNIC counts all regular users, not just online consumers. CNNIC is a semiofficial nonprofit organization that is run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences and handles Internet issues within the purview of the Ministry of Information Industry (MII). The Center manages and oversees English and Chinese character domain names ending in .cn. It also maintains a database of Internet protocol addresses, provides information on Internet-related policies, and conducts surveys on Internet development, among other jobs. The center estimates that there are now 122,099 domain names registered under .cn and 265,405 websites in China.

According to one survey, Sina.com was listed by 68.1 % of netizens (a Web surfer who spends no less than two hours online during a session and surfs no less than twice a week) as the most influential Web site in China, followed by Sohu.com with 53.3 %, Net Ease with 40.7 %, and Chinese Yahoo! with 16 %.5 However, when using e-mail, most users preferred Sina followed by NetEase. When searching, 60.3 % like Sohu and 54.7 % preferred Sina.6

Finally, the journal Red Herring, in its special Asia issue of October 2000, was even more optimistic. It listed Internet use in China, by the year 2005, as nearing 9.2 % of the population. This would put the Internet use figure somewhere around 125 million people.7 Even if these figures are off by millions of people, the underlying idea is clearthe utilization of the net is widening quickly. For example, the US Embassy in China, on a web site article on The Growing Influence of the Internet in China, noted that the Feiyu Net Cafe (http://www.feiyu.com.cn /) near Beijing University has one thousand computers.

Even the government has pushed to go on-line. As Nina Hachigian noted in Foreign Affairs, the Government On-Line Initiative, launched in 1998, aimed to ensure that 80 % of all government agencieslocal and nationalhad Web sites by the end of 2000. State-owned China Telecom lowered its access charges and is adding two million new lines each month to meet demand for network access. Other state-owned telecommunication providers are encouraged to build their own networks.8

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