Friday, September 27, 2013

One China, Two Internets? What About Weibo?

By AsiaPopCulture

We all know about the Great Firewall of China blocking any internet content deemed "politically incorrect" by Beijing.  So Weibo, China's twitter, has become the place to be for Laowai (老外, foreigners) to learn the latest news, gossips and gripes that the regular Joe's and Jane's of Chinese netizens really think and talk about.  However, keeping up with Weibo, which is in Chinese, is an entirely different animal.  This WSJ video explores whether it’s possible for those who don’t speak Chinese to avoid getting lost in translation.

In fact, one trending topic that's making waves is the news broke yesterday by South China Morning Post that China will lift Internet ban in Shanghai’s coming free-trade zone.  I personally side with this article at WSJ that it is highly unlikely that Beijing would give up the Great Firewall (in operation since 1998) to accommodate a 10-sq-km 'capitalistic' block in Shanghai.  Will the internet block really lifted one day for all of China?  Well, one never should say never.  It might, as WSJ quoted Wang Jinhai, the spokesman for the Qianhai Economic Zone in Shenzhen, that
"....the Qianhai zone does eventually plan to have an open Internet that meets “modern international financial communications needs,” but ....it is likely to take five or six years, with a first step over the next two years involving some cooperation with Internet providers from Hong Kong and Macau."