Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Karaoke Restrictions


China’s Ministry of Culture introduced the “national karaoke content management system” in recent years to determine every song’s play count.  The system grew out of the desire to collect payments for songs’ copyrights.  Zhengzhou, Henan served as one of the test cities for the device. Almost half of the original 110 karaoke centers in Zhengzhou also featured a “black box,” a free addition that also tracks content. Selecting a banned or inappropriate listing triggers the “black box” to immediately notify law officers. As of this month, 176 locations in Chongqing installed this management system. Henan plans to employ the instrument throughout the province by the end of next year.

Zhengzhou’s Deputy inspector of Provincial Department of Culture, Wang Tianhong, explained a “black list” to establish criteria for censorship is still lacking. Current decisions allegedly restrict sensitive topics surrounding Xinjiang and Taiwan as well as vulgar, lewd content. Employees at places with a “black box” are ordered to erase inappropriate songs after authorities arrive.

Deputy inspector Wang additionally mentioned that one network would eventually unite all national, provincial and municipal cultural administration departments to manage every karaoke system. He stressed that this comprehensive structure “is mainly aimed at karaoke places and other entertainment services, consumers will not be punished.”


Read Full Post »


……are a joke


In June 2008, Steve Jobs deemed Russian and Chinese markets “two big ones” that Apple was working on.

Today, China Unicom, the only licensed company to sell iPhone in China, is embarrassed.

Unicom stepped into negotiations in September of last year when Apple’s dealings China Mobile broke down. They opened an online iPhone store just over two weeks ago on Taobao.com, which is China’s version of eBay.

In these first weeks, the e-store sold five iPhones—two 8GB and three 16GB iPhones. Total sales in this period of 5,000 units failed to meet expectations. This paled in comparison to the 60,000 online orders KT, the South Korean distributer, received prior to their launch more than a week ago.

Without G3 service, a 32GB iPhone in China costs 6,999 元, or $1,024 US. This is about $200 more expensive that those sold in Hong Kong. Aside from these elevated prices, credit cards are not very common in China, especially among the younger age group more likely to purchase iPhones. An online store may not be the best mechanism to push expensive phones. Fake iPhones (seen in this video) are also hurting sales. Reports praise their functionality and their prices range from $60 to $170 US.

Last month, Apple’s iPhone sales were projected to reach 50 million by 2011. Bernstein Research analyst Toni Sacconaghi thought China Unicom would contribute 2.9 million units to this total. It may be too soon to tell, but this statistic seems slightly inflated.

Read Full Post »


Internet usage in China is complicated. Asia already houses the largest Internet network in the world. Amidst exponential growth, access remains monitored. The Chinese Government maintains that restrictions over their country’s online content are necessary. If it grows unchecked, the Internet will hinder China’s efficiency and success.

(Here is an excellent account with diagrams of regional web usage)

Beyond the issues surrounding China’s Cyber Warefare, simply accessing the World Wide Web remains tough in certain regions. Xinjiang stands out as a radical example. Early last July, Uyghur riots in Ürümqi, Xinjiang led to a few hundred deaths, nine executions as well as a revamping of the region’s communication. Two years ago, I did not encounter any restrictions on e-mail or other messaging networks like Facebook during my travels throughout Xinjiang. Connections were scarce is more rural regions, but I could communicate easily once online. By mid-July 2009, these circumstances changed quite a bit. These days, a breakdown of available contact serves as a reminder for current Xinjiang residents to respect authority. While Internet connections allegedly remain largely unaffected, website availability continues to decreased. These two up-to-date accounts (Report #1, Report #2) depict current constraints.

Throughout China’s other regions, web searches on topics sensitive to authorities produce uninformative results and any degree of lewd content does not survive long. Although they admit corruption is a significant problem, preserving a positive government image is vital to their power. In the latter case, morals play a role. China’s Government recently offered monetary rewards for tips on location of servers running pornography websites. Response rates were astounding.

These examples are, however, extreme. There are very basic problems. A consistent frustration for some foreigners seems to be simply obtaining an Internet connection in their residence. Here is some advice for anyone struggling with this problem and wants to obtain Internet access in China outside of cafes and hotels.

Read Full Post »


Views on President Obama’s approach to relations with China continue to clash. Arguments over his aggressiveness aside, the Obama administration actually discussed every relevant issue except for one: cyber warfare.

This was purposeful. China repeatedly denies their growing capacity for cyber attacks. A complicated system of changing devoted followers allows the Chinese Government to dispute any responsibility. Dialogues on cyber war consequently go nowhere. New Zealand and Belgium openly broadcasting accusations of China’s “cyberinfiltration“ produced no results. A Chinese military expert commented, “They now have a major advantage, a weapon like no other that allows them to reach out and touch right into the continental United States.”

According to the 2008 U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) report, 43,880 Chinese cyber attacks in 2007 reached roughly five million U.S. computers. These incidents involve “malicious activity” or the extraction of information. This USCC report also read, “China is intent on expanding its sphere of control even at the expense of its Asian neighbors and the United States.” U.S. retaliation allegedly seems ineffective. Kylin, the U.S. Government’s latest operating system, failed to breach China’s less secure construction. While the U.S. Government may condemn this behavior, jealousy appears to drive this anger.

China’s command over the cyber world additionally compels major Internet and computer companies to fall in line with their demands. For some time, Yahoo! has supplied the Chinese Government with e-mail content. Most recently, Microsoft’s latest search engine, Bing, decided to censor certain subjects. For searches in English on controversial topics related to China, Bing provides diverse results with conflicting opinions. Traditional, complicated Chinese characters yield a similar range of attitudes. An identical search in simplified Chinese characters generates a list of websites that paint a different picture. These results do not challenge Chinese authorities; some even deny the occurrence of divisive movements. Searches on 法轮功 (Fulun Gong), for example, depict a rebellious organization with goals of terrorism. Links to neutral descriptions and the group’s official website are not available. Bing additionally offers translations of every webpage, yet atop each interpretation it reads “Microsoft® is not responsible for the content below.”

China’s control over cyberspace intimidates the world’s most dominant governmental and industrial authorities. During their rise to power, other countries have raised issues with monetary policy, trade, human rights, and climate change. These assertions stem from a hope that China acts fairly as it attains a world leader stature. Incremental progress is necessary for these matters. China’s Government does not hastily commit to drastic policy changes. Contrary to less charitable analyses, they take the time to listen, discuss, and consider every ramification. Cyber warfare, however, remains an arena where China refuses to budge. Maintaining authority and secrecy over their capabilities surpasses all other elements of international relations. It is China’s trump card.

Read Full Post »