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More adventures in China's open internet

Seven months on from the Urumqi riots, Xinjiang is still effectively without internet access.

All email is blocked, and only government websites such as Xinhua are accessible, according to RSF.

Official media claimed on January 12 that internet access was "returning".


Cold War II, Now Playing

It all reminds me of a Garrison Keilor sketch from the early 90s about listless American men missing the Cold War.

Hanker no longer. It's breaking out all over the place.

From the blue corner:
Financial Times
China fumes after US arms sales to Taiwan
Sydney Morning Herald
Honeymoon over for US and China
New York Times
U.S. Arms for Taiwan Send Beijing a Message
The Times
China says US arms sales to Taiwan could threaten wider relations

From the red corner:
Global Times
China halts military ties with US
China Daily
Beijing furious at arms sales to Taiwan

The furore over a watered-down arms package that won't alter the military balance ($$) is a classic piece of Chinese political theatre. A timely distraction from the Google debacle, hugely appreciated by the home audience and even the anti-China foreign media is right on message. Beijing must be loving it.


Service resumes

I started this blog because I thought the intersection of technology, telecom and free speech in China was worth writing about. Thanks to Google I now don't have to explain why.

After a number of distractions and a much-needed break from the PC it's time to resume.


Chinese lawyer detained for mentioning Twitter

Tang Jingling, a Guangzhou lawyer, was invited to the Guangzhou College of Vocational Technology on November 27 to lecture students on the internet.

Radio Free Asia reports:

[H]e was interrupted by a member of the campus security force who was auditing the class, and was told to show his identification before being led away by police.

Twitter is considered “a tool of subversion” by some Chinese security personnel, says local activist Bei Feng.

“As far as I know, leading Chinese Web sites and forums were all cautioned not to discuss Twitter, which may now be monitored by special task forces,” Bei said.


Huawei captures attention along with no. 2 slot

The International Herald Tribune and New York Times had a go at the Huawei story this week after it snared Telenor's LTE business.

To take business away from Nokia Siemens on its Nordic home turf makes for one of the Chinese vendor's sweetest and most important wins. Huawei now has the chance of rolling out a showcase 4G network with a tier 1 European carrier.

The other prompt for the story is Huawei overtaking NSN to become the no. 2 wireless network supplier in Q3 (it's not the second biggest in the industry overall just wireless).

The milestone is worth a shout. In no other hi-tech business is a Chinese firm so close to a leadership position, and not just as a low-end assembly operation.

Like every Huawei story, the IHT/Times piece asks the Huawei question. It gets the Huawei answer from European marketing director Edward Zhou:

“No government or government-linked organizations have any ownership stake,” Mr. Zhou said. “Huawei has no connection to the Chinese military, and none of our directors hold, or has held, any positions with, or serves or has served as a consultant or adviser to, any Chinese government or agency.”

For those who don't know, Huawei was founded by ex-PLA officer Ren Zhengfei - now CEO - and others in 1987. Unlike all of its competitors, including cross-town rival ZTE, it's privately-held. It says it funds its expansion through an annual increase in its capital base and well-supported employee share purchase program. It also has the benefit of a generous $30 billion credit line from a state-owned bank to help customers buy its gear.

Huawei has made the denial about its military connections often enough for it to be quite credible. But in the form put by Zhou, it doesn't rule out the RAND Corporation assertion that Huawei

“maintains deep ties with the Chinese military, which serves a multifaceted role as an important customer, as well as Huawei’s political patron and research development partner.”

Like China itself, Huawei's success, and its secrecy, make it controversial.

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