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Entries in censorship (3)


China telecoms 2013: More web controls, more of the same 

If China's new leaders are planning to loosen internet controls, they haven't told the chief telecom and internet regulator.

At a year-end work conference last week, MIIT chief Miao Wei cited stronger management of the internet and continued efforts to “clean the network environment" as among his top priorities.

Miao promised “strengthened management over the internet industry” and more “guidance and management for the mobile internet, microblogs, instant messaging, smartphones, app stores and other new technologies and services.”

Without elaborating, he said the ministry would “revise domain and IP address resource management methods.”

Miao's widely-reported remarks ignored or only touched on some of the live competition issues on the MIIT's plate. 

He did not mention the plans to allow private investment  in MVNOs and other areas. He said the ministry would try to release the overdue national broadband strategy "as soon as possible."

Miao also did not refer to the long-running anti-trust probe into China Telecom and China Unicom, but promised “improved telecom market supervision” and a change in network settlement policies.

On the decade-long attempt to allow cable and telecom operators to compete in each other's markets, the minister promised no more than to begin approvals for “second-phase trials”.

Miao confirmed the government would complete LTE spectrum allocation and 4G "licence issue preparation” this year.

Finally, he hoped to expand the mobile number portability trial. The trial, underway in Tianjin and Hainan since 2010, has reportedly stalled. Miao did not indicate how or where the trial would be enlarged.


MIIT preps netizens for the slow lane

With warning of stepped-up network security, MIIT chief engineer signals a slower internet during party congress.

Click to read more ...


The China web: More than just ideotainment

More on the internet and civil society in China.

In an op-ed in SCMP Tuesday (sub. required), former Swedish Ambassador to China Borje Ljunggren goes through some of the recent literature*, noting that Chinese party-state is “pluralising [the] internet to its own advantage" and filling the media with “ideotainment.”

But quoting author Johan Lagerkvist, he also describes “an ongoing erosion of the party-state's power over civil society”, with a rise in activism and the formation of new social norms online and offline.

While censorship is absolutely central to the system, “its usage is increasingly exposed” as web users become aware of it, with the result that the idea of a “right to know” is taking shape in China's growing online civil society.

*  The Power of the Internet in China - Citizen Activism Online, Guobin Yang ;  After the Internet, Before Democracy - Competing Norms in Chinese Society and Media, Johan Lagerkvist; Changing Media, Changing China, Susan Shirk (ed.)