Google may not want to stay here (or well, it kinda does, but you know), but China is having its most internetted year ever! An official report on Friday showed that China’s population of internet users jumped by nearly a third to 384 million throughout 2009. That’s 86 million more users than 2008 – aka the population of Germany (but more!).
However, even though the amount of users continue to rise, the “rate of [internet] participation remains quite low,” says Reuters. Give us a break guys, we got the internet a little later than the Western world, and we’ve been able to afford it for even less time! And besides, with all the things going on about controlling smut and opinion and what not, the fact that our internet continues to grow at all almost seems like a miracle. Speaking of which, other internet news:
- Did you know that you could win a “Self Discipline” award here in China if you do a good job conforming to the Chinese government’s terms of private sector censorship? As creepy as that sounds, it’s not that different from those “intermediary liability” clauses in the U.S. and Europe… only, like, courts and votes can determine those regulations. Anyhow, Baidu CEO Robin Li won one in 2009. [Rebecca MacKinnon]
- Ah, Baidu. Something tells us things aren’t all peaches and cream there. Just days before Google’s mega announcement, Baidu COO Peng Ye jumped ship for “personal reasons.” Yesterday morning, its CTO Yinan Li also said he was leaving… for “personal reasons.” Is it related to Google in anyway? [TechCrunch]
- Oh yeah, back to Google. They’re still here and the .cn site is still censoring search results… which makes us wonder: who’s going to look like the biggest ass by the end of this? [The Globe and Mail]
- Which reminds us: here’s how to protect your ass in China, email-wise. Especially if you’re a journalist or dissident or something. It’s pretty easy to figure out if someone’s trying to hone in on your emails, just follow the steps after this link. [FCC China]
- But once again, back to Google. Even if it does stay, this whole debacle has ruined the chances for one thing: the G-phone. According to Caijing, Goog has unilaterally canceled all G-phone programs with China Unicom, including using Google search, maps and other apps on China Unicom phones. [Caijing (Chinese)]
- Want to hear an expert take on all this Google stuff? Some of our favorite voices on internet issues in China will be chatting about censorship, China and probably all the points we just listed above on Wednesday morning EST (er… we guess, tonight our time). They include Open Society Institute fellow Rebecca MacKinnon, Foreign Policy contributing editor Evgeny Morozov, Columbia Law School professor and Slate contributor Tim Wu, and Clinton’s senior adviser for innovation, Alec Ross. James Fallows will moderate. [New America/Slate]