Jun 13

Chinese opinions of the Internet

Written by Buxi on Friday, June 13th, 2008 at 10:05 pm
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While looking into the Pew Global Attitudes Survey (which deserves a blog post of its own), I came across these interesting results highlighted by Pew, with the title ‘Few in China Complain About Internet Controls‘.  This survey was conducted in 2007:

  • Over four years of tracking user reaction, trust in the reliability of online content has fallen by one-half, from 52% in 2003 to 26% now.
  • Only about one-third of internet users (30%) said they considered online content reliable.5
  • An overwhelming number of Chinese, almost 84%, agreed that the internet should be controlled or managed.
  • Since 2005, the percentage of users who say that online content about “politics” should be controlled or managed jumped from 8% to 41%, by far the biggest increase of any items tested.

It’s fair to wonder whether the survey is fully representative. After looking at the methodology in detail (pdf) (which polled 2000 urban residents in 5 cities), I think these numbers do give us at least a fuzzy picture of common trends.

This all tells me that perhaps we shouldn’t expect much liberalization online in the near future. There’s just too little popular demand for it.

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5 Responses to “Chinese opinions of the Internet”

  1. AC Says:

    1) The biggest censorship is language.
    2) The coverage of international news in the Chinese media is pretty good.

    So I guess that’s why most people don’t care?

  2. FOARP Says:

    The coverage of international news is incomplete

    The biggest censorship is entire subjects

    So guess why it it is easy to get people to support the ‘golden shield’ when they are told it is there to protect them against ‘filth’.

  3. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP, you have to explain the change in percentage, not the actual number.

  4. FOARP Says:

    @Nimrod – I am not in China now, so I have to guess, but I would say it is because it has had little consequencence for them as individuals.

    Here’s an essay topic for you: “A rising tide raises all boats” – some foreigners use this saying as an excuse to defend their opinions regarding Chinese censorship in light of Chinese support for censorship in this period of growth – discuss.

  5. yo Says:

    I think it’s important to note in what way did the respondents want the internet to be “managed or controlled”.
    “Porn, violence and junk mail remain of highest concern”

    This is quite understandable and not too different from what others might say from different countries in the west(e.g. Mexico 😛 )

    I also found this interesting, over 82% of the respondents said they never or seldom use a proxy server. When I see that, I’m not buying it. Does anyone know if that’s something that people might not admit to?

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