November 26, 2004

A BLOG REVOLUTION sweeps across China?

Ever since the Communist party took power in 1949, the Chinese media has been tightly controlled by the government. Online publishing is a real threat to that control, and the government is clearly worried. A crackdown in 2003 closed websites and internet cafes and saw the arrest of dozens of online commentators.

Yet this is not proving enough to stifle the pluck and ingenuity of China’s bloggers. The rise of the blog phenomenon was made possible by blog-hosting services. Just as companies like Yahoo host email accounts, sites like blogger.com, based in the United States, host blogs. . . .

Blog services are now sprouting all over China. By the end of October 2004, China had more than 45 large blog-hosting services. A Google search for bo ke will return more than two million results, from blogs for football fans to blogs for Christians.

And while the larger hosting companies have become subject to censorship regulations, smaller companies and individuals do not face the same pressures. Any tech-savvy user can download and install blogging software themselves, bypassing the controls.

Blogs play an important role in republishing and spreading information as quickly as it is banned from official websites.

Read the whole thing.