US based Google the leading Internet search engine company in the world started providing its services in China

in 2000. Though Google soon became the leading search engine in the Chinese market, it started losing its market share in couple of years. In China, the Internet content was heavily censored by the government and users searching on Google's site experienced inordinate delays. By 2005, Chinese search Engine Company Baidu emerged as the leading internet search company in China. To compete with Baidu, Google decided to launch a Chinese website - and agreed to censor its content. The case discusses the circumstances under which Google was forced to self censor its content and decided to launch its new site. The case illustrates the role of Chinese government and the regulations in the Internet market which had an adverse effect on Google's operations in China. Issues: » Examine the problems faced by Google in China » Study the legal and business environment in the Chinese online media industry » Evaluate the impact of government regulations on the operations of foreign Internet companies like Google in China Contents: Page No. 1 2 3 5 5 6 8

Google Meets 'The Great Firewall' Background Note Google in China Google Loses Market Share The Launch of The Road Ahead Exhibits Keywords:

Google, Internet Market in China, Forbidden Searches in China, Baidu, Legal Environment, Business Environment, Government Regulations, Tiananmen Square, Censoring Content, Search Engine,, AdSense, AdWords, Services of Google, ISPs Filtering Methods "Our launch of, though filtered, is a necessary first s tep toward achieving a productive presence in a rapidly changing country that will be one of the world's most important and dynamic for decades to come. To some people, a hard compromise may not feel as satisfying as a withdrawal on principle, but we believe it's the best way to work toward the results we all desire."1 - Andrew McLaughlin, Senior Policy Counsel, in 2006 .

"I'm sure Google justifies this by saying it's just a couple of search words that people can't get to, but it's very difficult for Google to do what they just did and avoid the slippery slope. The next thing they'll do is ask them to tell them who is searching for 'Taiwan' or 'independence' or 'human rights.' And then it's going to find itself in the position of turning over the names of dissidents or simply of inquisitive individuals, for imprisonment." 2 - Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch3 in 2006 Google Meets 'The Great Firewall' On January 25, 2006, the US based Google Inc. (Google), the world's largest search engine, announced that it was ready to censor the content that it made available in China. Google's Chinese website would be censored by the company itself on the basis of the instructions of the government. Before this, the government agencies in China used to censor the content on Google's site that violated the regulations (Refer Exhibit I for regulations imposed by the Chinese government on the Internet in China). The topics that were sensitive for the Chinese government included Tiananmen Square, Tibet, the Dalai Lama, Taiwan independence, human rights and the Falun Gong spiritual movement. After censorship, users searching for 'Falun Gong spiritual movement', for example, would be directed to sites and articles condemning the movement; sites that supported the movement were omitted from the search (Refer Exhibit II for a few of the forbidden searches in China). Google was of the view that after censoring its content, the company's website would become easily accessible in China. The company announced, "In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on, in response to local law, regulation or policy."4 Google also announced that users would be informed whenever access was restricted. A survey carried out by China Internet Network Information Center5 in August 2005 revealed that Google was losing market share to its competitor, which had emerged as the leading search engine in China. Google Meets 'The Great Firewall' Contd... Google had been providing services for users in China through its global search engine, which has its servers in the US. This meant that the content had to pass through Chinese firewalls, which often stalled the browser and slowed it down. The slowdown was also associated with filtering and censorship carried out by the Chinese government and Internet service providers (ISPs). For this reason, Google decided to place its servers in China and agreed to self-censor the content and let the users know of it. However, human rights activists and advocates of freedom of the press all over the world expressed their displeasure at Google's move. Reporters without Borders (RWB)6 said, "Google's statements about respecting online privacy are the height of hypocrisy in view of its strategy in China."7

Background Note Google was founded by Larry Page (Page) and Sergey Brin (Brin), who were students at Stanford University, California, USA. While at Stanford, Page logged on to the World Wide Web, looking for a topic for his doctoral thesis. He decided to work on the link structure of the Web. He found that though links from one page to the other could be followed easily, it was important to keep track of the back-links as well. He started working on backlinks8 and called his project 'BackRub.' Brin joined Page in working on BackRub. Together, they created a ranking system which ranked the links depending on their importance. They came up with an algorithm called PageRank,9 which took into account the number of links to a particular site and the number of links into the linking sites. 10 . Google in China In September 2000, Google began operating a search engine in Chinese by offering 24 million web pages in Chinese language (Refer Exhibit IV for Internet and Internet search market in China). By 2002, Google had gained lot of popularity in China owing to its simplicity and ability to carry out searches effectively. During that time, the Chinese government was blocking several websites through IP filters intermittently. The blocking increased during times of heightened security like the anniversary of Tiananmen Square events, the national party congress, etc. But users of Google could circumvent the government censorship through cached pages... Google Loses Market Share By early 2004, users in China had thought that Google was unreliable and started using alternative search engines. Elliot Schrage, Vice-president, Global Communications and Public Affairs of Google said that Google was seven times slower than its rival Baidu and Google itself was not happy with the way its services were being operated in the country... The Launch of Google wanted to have a major presence in China. The market was lucrative because of its size. China had the second largest number of Internet users after the US. Google felt that only a local presence could help it to provide better and more reliable services to customers. To operate in China, Google needed an Internet Content Provider license, which required it to filter its content. In April 2005, after obtaining permission from the Ministry of Information Industry in China, Google announced the opening of a representative office in Shanghai (Mainland China), and registered the URL - The Road Ahead Analysts opined that with Internet users would have a better experience after the launch of, and Google may once again emerge as the most preferred search engine in the country. According to findings reported by Keynote Systems in January 2006, Google was in

Some skeptics suggested that the attacks were merely a pretext and that Google will either make peace with the regime or withdraw from China for other reasons (such as its limited market share). fixed on every word. he hired dozens of China's top graduates. When he started the Microsoft lab seven years ago. Google's deal with China is a partnership to censor the Net. last year. preferred it to any other search engine. and Europe. and there's even less justification now for Google to get in bed with the regime. The decision is likely to trigger its ouster from China. Not quite on the level of a movie star like Edison Chen or the singers in the boy band F4. he worked for Apple in California and then for Microsoft in China. once they started using Google. It argued at the time that the new site would do more good than harm." . And although it's true that there's been an intensified crackdown on speech and dissentrecently. Google didn't identify any suspe cts behind the intrusions. In person. The study concluded that Chinese -. dissentWhen it disclosed the theft of its intellectual property and the attacks on Gmail users around the world.. Yet the rationale for providing a censored search engine has never been morally compelling. "Even with content restrictions. Google found during its investigation that undisclosed individuals had been surveilling dozens of activists' e-mail accounts in China. leaving Internet users there with sporadic access at be st to Google's search engine. the company all but accused the Chinese government of stabbing it in the back. it made a trade -off that threatened to run afoul of its "Don't be evil" motto. students sprawled out on the is more likely to expand Chinese users' access to information. but for a 44-year-old computer scientist who invariably appears in a somber dark suit. The company created a new version of its site -. making it more accessible to Internet users there. It could hardly come as a surprise to Google that the Chinese government invades people¶s privacy to maintain its power. When Lee. it's not as if the regime became repressive overnight..S. It is not hard to see why Lee has become a cult figure for China's high -tech youth. Lee exudes the cheery optimism of a life coach. For many young people in China. Google's China problem January 14. At another. It can't continue to pretend that this regime is a partner it can work with . And make no mistake. The decision came in the wake of a series of disturbing assaults on Google and more than 30 other companies' sites that apparently were aimed at stealing corporate secrets and penetrating the Gmail accounts of Chinese human ri ghts activists. Before joining Google last If Google can't persuade China to let it operate an unfiltered search engine there. Google agreed to suppress search results from Web pages disfavored by the government. Although the assaults on Gmail were not successful. gave a lecture at one Chinese university about how young Chinese should compete with the rest of the world. the new head of operations for Google in China. Kai-Fu Lee is a celebrity. an audience of 8. the U." a fast-selling self-help book that urged Chinese students to adopt the risktaking spirit of American capitalism." This week. went toColumbia and Carnegie-Mellon and is fluent in both English and Mandarin.Google.a strong position to challenge Baidu in the Chinese search engine market.that would be operated from servers inside China. he will now be doing the same thing for Google. "The students of China are remarkable. Google acknowledged that it might have overestimated the merits of cooperating with the Chinese government. he published "Be Your Personal Best. and pledged to stop censoring Google. He grew up in Taiwan. But in deference to a government demand. the company's research-and-development lab in Beijing. he set up Microsoft Research Asia. 2010 When Google set up shop in China four years ago. but its comments and other reports clearly implicated the Beijing government. he can really draw a crowd.000 showed up. it should pack up its servers and go home." he told me when I met him in Beijing in February. "There is a huge desire to learn. a fast and reliable Google. as a company spokesman told a congressional panel in early 2006. scalpers sold tickets for $60 apiece.

If you search for "Tibet" or "Falun Gong" most anywhere in the world on google.Lee can sound almost evangelical when he talks about the liberating power of technology. As a condition of our meeting. or any mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. he offered one opinion that seemed telling: the Chinese students he meets and employs. once the country's small villages are connected. In January. only the executives in Google's California head office were allowed to discuss those matters. To obey China's censorship laws." Yet Google's conduct in China has in recent months seemed consid erably less than idealistic. Calif. But Google's executives were supposed to be cut from a different cloth.I. of these links will be gone. In February. he says. Google wasn't the only American high-tech company to run aground in China in recent months. he published a gushingly emotional open letter on his personal Web site. The small rooms were full of eager young Chinese men in hip sweatshirts clustered around enormous flatpanel monitors. or Harvard and fully educate themselves. students thousands of miles from Shanghai or Beijing will be able to access online course materials from M." Lee told me. the company had agreed to purge its search results of any Web sites disapproved of by the Chinese government. Lee said. "Don't Be Evil" ² "all of those things. including Web sites promoting Falun Gong. And 'Don't Do Evil' " ² he was referring to Google's bold motto. but he wears the company's earnest. Google had demanded that I not raise the issue of government relations. I think I've always been an idealist in my heart. you'll find thousands of blog entries. its telegenic young founders. The Internet. He concluded with an exuberant equation that translates as "youth + freedom + equality + bottom-up innovation + user focus + don't be evil = The Miracle of Google. nor was it the worst offender. and figure out how to make money later. a government-banned spiritual movement. that miracle was being conducted out of a collec tion of bland offices in downtown Beijing that looked as if they had been hastily rented and occupied. and most. do not hunger for democracy. When the company went public two years ago. Google's decision did not go over well in the United States. But as Lee and I talked about how the Internet was transforming China. Google's representatives explained. and protesters waved placards outside the company's headquarters in Mountain View. wrote in the company's official filing for the Securiti es and Exchange Commission that Google is "a company that is trustworthy and interested in the public will level the playing field for China's enormous rural underclass. news items and chat rooms on Chinese repression." When I visited with Lee. he says. company executives were called into Congressional hearings and compared to Nazi collaborators. "How to build stuff that users like. praising Google's mission to bring information to the masses. "People are actually quite free to talk about . The company's stock fell. utopian ethos on his sleeve: when he was hired away from Microsoft. a few months after Lee opened the Beijing office.T. Lee has been with Google since only last summer. debugging code for new Google if not all. sites promoting free speech in China. Sergey Brin and Larry Page. "The ideals that we uphold here are really just so important and noble." How could Google square that with making nice with a repressive Chinese regime and the Communist Party behind it? It was difficult for me to know exactly how Lee felt about the company's arrangement with China's authoritarian leadership. Google will have erased them completely. the company announced it would be introducing a new version of its search engine for the Chinese market. Do the same search inside China on google.

A. in the success Chinese-run sites enjoyed at Yahoo's expense. democracy.S. that seems like an intolerable question ² the end of the conversation.B. Cultural Differences Google was not. whenever I called a Chinese executive whose phone was turned off. during the weeks I traveled in China. that's a good form of government. These sites. it is just the beginning. including Sina. good and stable. When users now search on baidu." Lee said. Baidu. a Chinese -American professor of media studies at the University of Hong Kong. but they were full of links to chat rooms and government-approved Chinese-language news sites. "I don't think they care that much. rarely rely on e-mail. just now. star Yao Ming. that's a good form of government. I would get a recording saying that the person was simply "unavailable." he added. as long as I get to go to my favorite Web rollicking arguments and flame wars spill on for thousands of comments. for example. and they love to keep doing that. for example. . Yahoo executives quickly learned how difficult China was to penetrate ² and how baffling the country's cultural barriers can be for Americans. as I have these past months. meaning democracy and human rights in China. they are shown not only links to news reports on his games.' " Certainly. they are also able to join a chat room with thousands of others and argue about him. because they find the idea of leaving messages to be socially awkward. Whatever. "I think it's more people finding that they can express themselves and be heard. as Google has discovered. Chinese government. which means they gravitate to mobile phones and short text messages instead." I was told by Andrew Lih. these cultural nuances made the sites run by American companies feel simply foreign to Chinese users ² and drove them instead to local portals designed by Chinese entrepreneurs. had less useful search engines. As Yahoo found. capitalized on the national fervor for chat and invented a tool that allows people to create instant discussion groups based on popular search queries. But spend some time among China's nascent class of Internet users. But in China. see my friends.) The most popular feature of the Internet for Chinese users ² much more so than in the United States ² is the online discussion board. Youth + freedom + equality + don't be evil is an equation with few constants and many possible solutions. and you begin to hear such talk somewhat andSohu. better and worse ways to limit information? In America. a pioneer in China. Nationalist feelings might have played a role. he said. to the Chinese? Are there gradations of censorship. "But I don't think of this as a political statement at all. "There's now a very strong sense of pride in supporting the local guy. What is freedom." It sounded to me like company spin ² a curiously deflated notion of free speech. in fact. They prefer live exchanges. where long. too. Yahoo was the first major American Internet company to enter the market. introducing a Chinese-language version of its site and opening up an office in Beijing in 1999." and the phone would not accept messages.the subject. Baidu's chat rooms receive as man y as five million posts a day. U. the idea of personal expression. Chinese businesspeople. I think people would say: ' for the name of the Chinese N. (They avoid voicemail for the same reason. of speaking out publicly. live happily. had become vastly more popular among young Chinese as the Internet had grown and as blogging and online chat had become widespread. a Chinese search engine that was introdu ced in 2001 as an early competitor to Yahoo.

For companies inside its borders. certainly. If you were in China and surfed over to google.O. they had put up a clunky but serviceable Chinese -language version of Google's home page." he told me recently. China has two main methods for censoring the Web. but it's not. a class that prides itself on being cosmopolitan rather than nationalistic. much in the same way google. it thrives. "Right now I think that the record companies may not be happy about the service we are offering.E." Almost one -fifth of Baidu's traffic comes from searching for unlicensed MP3's that would be illegal in the United States. There are three main fiber-optic pipelines in China. 3. it often feels placeless and virtual. Robin Li. The Chinese government requires the private -sector . Google's s ervers would automatically detect that you were inside the country and send you to the Chinese -language search interface. G oogle became popular with a different set: whitecollar urban professionals in the major Chinese cities. Chinese workers arrived at their desks to find that Google's site was down. downloading illegal copies of music. Japanese and Korean. the government uses a broad array of penalties and threats to keep content clean. While Baidu appealed to young MP3 hunters. It runs on real wires that cut through real geographical boundaries.. Google's engineers quietly set about creating a version of their search engine that could understand character-based Asian languages like Chinese. giant underground cables that provide Internet access for the public and connect China to the rest of the Internet outside its borders. is unrepentant. In early 2000. When you use the Internet. When I sat in an Internet cafe in Beijing one afternoon. Baidu's 37 -year-old founder and C. but there is now a stigma against taking too much intellectual content without paying for it. after the Napster wars. far outside the Ch inese government's sphere of influence. so the company developed an easy-to-use interface specifically for this purpose. Google by the end of 2002 achieved a level of success that had eluded Yahoo: it amassed an estimated 25 percent of all search traffic in China ² and it did so working entirely from California. 2002. with just an error page in its place. movies and software is as normal and accepted as checking the weather online. By pulling in that audience. Google vanished. Baidu's executives dis covered early on that many young users were using the Internet to hunt for pirated MP3's. The Chinese government had begun blocking it. aspirational types who follow Western styles and sprinkle English words into conversation.) In China. (Hence the success of iTunes.Yahoo also was slow to tap into another powerful force in Chinese life: rampant piracy." At first. movie and music piracy is increasingly understood as an illicit activity. "but I think digital music as a trend is unstoppable. Google took a different approach to the Chinese market than Yahoo did. In most parts of the in 2001. while his friends used Baidu to find and pull down pirated tracks from the 50 Cent album "Get Rich or Die Tryin'. the government has another im pressively effective mechanism of control: what techies call the Great Firewall of China. By the end of the year. For Web sites that originate anywhere else in the serves up a French-language interface to users in France. a teenager with mutton -chop sideburns a few chairs over from me sipped a Coke and watched a samurai movie he'd downloaded free. The Great Firewall Then on Sept.

And the firewall only half worked in Google's case: it could block sites that Google pointed to. many Beijing high -tech insiders told me that it is common for domestic Internet firms to complain to the government about the illicit content of competitors. the firewall would block the page. he dismissed the idea and argued that Baidu is simply a stronger competitor than Google. allowing certain pages from a site to slip through while blocking others. the government's filters allowed me to surf the entertainment and sports pages of the BBC but not its news section. an American firm ² serve as China's new censors. but in some cases it would let slip through a list of search results that included banned sites. your Internet browser sends out a request for that specific Web page. These routers ² some of which are made by Cisco Systems. something changed. which in 2002 had less than 3 percent of the search market compared with Google's 24 percent. Still. a professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing. (Like many Internet businesspeople I spoke with in China. Brin is too diplomatic to accuse anyone by name.companies that run these fiber-optic networks to specially configure "router" switches at the edge of the network. the Chinese government had no legal authority over it ² no ability to demand that Google voluntarily withhold its search results from Chinese users. printed them up and went to the government and said. you would get a list of search results that included Human Rights in China a New York -based organization whose Web site is banned by the Chinese government. Google posed a unique problem for the censors: Because the company had no office at the time inside the country. So if you were in Sh anghai and you searched for "human rights in China" on google. While I sat at one Internet cafe in Beijing. the co-founder of Google. where signals cross into foreign countries. In 2002. the routers then examine the words in the requested page's Internet address for blacklisted terms. If the address contains a word like "falun" or even a coded term like "198964" (which Chinese dissidents use to signify June 4. with a better grasp of Chinese desires. where it is then examined. But if you tried to follow the l ink to hrichina. but you couldn't reach them. 'Look at all this bad stuff you can find on Google!' That's why the government took Google 1989. in other words. If the site isn't blocked wholesale. In China. A young Chinese-American entrepreneur in Beijing told me that she had heard that t he instigator of the Google blockade was Baidu. Sergey Brin. some Baidu people sat down and did hundreds of searches for banned materials on Google. told me that he suspects the block might have been at the instigation of a competitor ² one of its Chinese rivals. and when I spoke to Guo Government officials didn't like this situation ² Chinese citizens were receiving constant reminders that their leaders felt threatened by certain subjects ² but Google was popular enough that they were reluctant to block it entirely. the router will block the signal. If the request is for a site that is on the government's blacklist ² and there are lots of them ² it won't get through. in the hope that their rivals will suffer the consequences. but various American Internet executives told me they believe that Baidu has at times benefited from covert government intervention. and the Chinese government decided to shut down all access to Google. you would get nothing but an error message.) "Then they took all the results. The filters can be surprisingly sophisticated. If you log onto a computer in downtown Beijing and try to access a Web site hosted on a server in Chicago. The request travels over one of the Chinese pipelines until it hits the routers at the border. she asked to remain anonymous. fearing retribution from the authorities. Why? Theories abound. "Basically. Back in the Internet cafe. your browser will display an error message. whose responsibilities include government relations. the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre). though." she said." Baidu strongly denies the charge. You could see that the banned sites existed. the censorship .

. while upstairs a gang of young Chines e soldiers in olive-drab coats laughed as they crossed swords in the medieval fantasy game World of Warcraft. even. He said he figured it was the government's job to keep banned materials inaccessible. was a yellow sign that said. he said with a chuckle. It leaves wide discretion for any minor official in China's dozens of regulatory agencies to demand that something he finds offensive be taken offline. like. many of China's mostly young Internet users go online in these cafes. To be permitted to offer Internet services. it is also a competitive one ² a cudgel that private firms use to beat one another with." Intimidation and "self-regulation" are.) Everyone in the cafe looked to be settled in for a long evening of lightweight entertainment: young girls in pink and yellow Hello Kitty sweaters juggled multiple chat sessions. next to a faded kung -fu movie poster. On one wall. and when they do. he took his picture with each guy." Internet censorship in China. In January. On the contrary. including the major Internet service providers. each cybercop has a blog and a chat window where Chinese citizens can talk to them. They gave them a plaque. which charge mere pennies per hour and provide fast broadband ² and cold soft drinks. a man with huge aviator glasses and graying hair." The warning seemed almost beside the point. including material that "damages the honor or interests of the state" or "disturbs the public order or destroys public stability" or even "infringes upon national customs and habits. "Do not go to pornographic or illegal Web sites. "The main function of Jingjing and Chacha is to intimidate. "and they say." One mistake Westerners frequently make about China is to assume that the government is furtive about its censorship. critical to how the party communicates its censorship rules to private-sector Internet companies. "If it's not supposed to be seen. clapping. the party is quite matter of fact about it ² proud." he said. But the language is. the Shenzhen Public Security Bureau created two cuddly little anime-style cartoon "Internet Police" mascots named "Jingjing" and "Chacha". (Because computers and home Internet connections are so expensive." One prohibition specifically targets "evil cults or superstition. for the most part." he recounted. how often his clients try to view illegal content. a private company must sign a license agreeing not to circulate content on certain subjects. Not often. 'And now it's time to award our annual Self-Discipline Awards!' And they gave 10 companies an award." The artic le went on to explain that the characters are there "to publicly remind all Netizens to be conscious of safe and healthy use of the Internet. They shook hands. it's usually pornography. It was basically like Excellence in Self-Censorship ² and everybody in the audience is. intentionally vague. selfregulate their online behavior and maintain harmonious Internet order together. this businessman explained. One American businessman who would speak only anonymously told me the story of attending an award ceremony last year held by the Internet Society of China for Internet firms. I asked the cafe manager. "I'm sitting there in the audience for this thing. "it's not supposed to be se en. in Chinese characters. Self-Discipline Awards When I visited a dingy Internet cafe one November evening in Beijing.regime is not only a political tool. its 120 or so cubicles were crammed with teenagers. As a Shenzhen official candidly told The Beijing Youth Daily. The minister was there." a clear reference to Falun Gong. is presented as a benevolent police function. in fact. nobody here looked even remotely likely to be hunting for banned Tiananmen Square retrospectives.

a list circulated online purporting to be a blacklist of words the government gives to Chinese blogging firms." In reality." says James Mulvenon. There are some foreign dignitaries here on this trip." the American businessman told me." The government's filtering. They're seriously worried about slipping up and going to jail. which way is the wind blowing. everyday Internet users react with caution. Generally.O. "There's a randomness to their enforcement." she said. Internet executives in China most likely censor far more material than they need to. and without actually talking about it much. They quickly discover that no master list exists. then to call up occasionally with angry demands that a Web page be taken down in 24 hours. The government's preferred method seems to be to leave the companies guessing. including "democracy" and "human rights. The Chinese system relies on a classic psychological truth: self-censorship is always far more comprehensive than formal censorship. the government effectively outsources the otherwise unmanageable task of monitoring the billions of e-mail messages. news stories and chat postings that circulate every day in China. The companies must do a sort of political mind reading and intuit in advance wha t the government won't like. he explained. Last year. Instead. What's allowed? What's not allowed? . They rarely push the government's limits. There are lines that cannot be crossed. the list had been cobbled together by a young executive at a Chinese blog company. "You have to understand. while comprehensive. An American publicrelations consultant who recently worked for a major domestic Chinese portal recalled an afternoon when Chinese police officers burst into the company's offices. "It's known informally as the 'wind -blowing meeting' ² in other words. is not total.' " American Internet firms typically arrive in China expecting the government to hand them an official blacklist of sites and words they must censor. a China specialist who is the head of a Washington policy group called the Center for Intelligence Research and Analysis. in to a conference room and berated him for failing to block illicit content. Every time he received a request to take down a posting. One day a banned site might temporarily be visible. "It's the panopticon. and that creates a sense that they're looking at everything. The government officials provide warnings for the days ahead. the government simply insists the firms interpret the vague regulations themselves. and after a while he developed his own list simply to help his company avoid future hassles. "He was pale with fear afterward. The penalty for noncompliance with censorship regulations can be serious. if the routers are overloaded ² or if the government suddenly decides to tolerate it.Government officials from the State Council Information Office convene weekly meetings with executives from the largest Internet service companies ² particularly major portals that run news stories and host blogs and discussion boards ² to discuss what new topics are likely to emerge that week that the party would prefer be censored." As a result. just terrified.E. dragged the C. This is precisely what makes the environment so bewildering to American Internet companies. The next day the site might disappear again. They think about it every day they go into the office. "They say: 'There's this party conference going on this week. By having each private company assume responsibility for its corner of the Internet. everyone who lives and breathes Chinese culture understands more or less where those lines are. he noted which phrase the government had objected to. these people are terrified.

but then Chinese began logging onto discussion boards and setting up blogs. I met with China's most famous political blogger.E. Zhao (who now works in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times) pushed the limits further than most. "It's like in every country: they have a bias. the president of Sina. Soon after he started his online writing. After college.3 percent. Chinese businessmen would often just laugh when I asked whether the government's censorship regime was hard to navigate. he said. flashing a smile. Something that is really no good. Zhao Jing. the party controlled every single piece of media.S. Yet he seemed less annoyed than amused by my line of questioning. handsome 31-year-old in a gray sweater. "It's not often. though. once a month or less often." he said. the country's biggest news site. we do not have any responsibilities saying we should do this or that political thing. a Chinese e-commerce firm. Meanwhile. "This is what the Internet does. the local sports scene ² felt like a bit of a revolution. had paid $1 billion to buy 40 percent of Alibaba and had given Ma complete control over all of Yahoo's services in China.In contrast to the confusion most Americans experience. a newspaper editor offered him a job as a reporter. a dapper. I had a reputation all over the province." Jack Ma put it more bluntly: "We don't want to annoy the government. Forget about it!" A Bit of a Revolution Last fall. "I'll tell you this." Zhao said. "I don't want to call it censorship." he said. "I don't think I can talk about it. of Alibaba. "One week after I went on the Internet. whose share of the Chinese search-engine market had fallen (according to one academic survey) to just 2. "Anything that is illegal in China ² it's not going to be on our search engine. one of China's biggest Yahoo-like portals. From his seat on a plush sofa. But I realized the problem wasn't me ² it was my small town. it's not more hard than dealing with Sarbanes and Oxley. Yahoo. Ma explained Alibaba's position on online speech. and it was as if a bell jar had lifted. seemed positively exuberant as he explained how radically China had changed since the Web arrived in the late 1990's. and everyone knows it. He began writing essays and posting them on discussion boards. he took a job as a hotel receptionist in a small city. he said. Shareholders want us to make the customer happy. the mere idea that you could publicly state your opinion about anything ² the weather. a founding executive of Even if you were still too cautious to talk about politics. at a Starbucks in Beijing." I asked if that meant once a week. I never thought I could be a writer. just after Ma's company had closed one of the biggest deals in Chinese Internet history.. he demurred. When I asked him how often he needs to remove postings from the discussion boards on Sina.) Another evening I had drinks in a Shanghai jazz bar with Charles He figured that if he was lucky. When he went online in 1998." Zhao lost his reporting job in March . he might one day own his own business. "No! We are a business! Shareholders want to make money. (He was referring to the American law that requires publicly held companies to report in depth on their finances. There are taboos you can't talk about in the U." Ma is the hyperkinetic C. I met him in November in the lobby of the China World Hotel in Beijing. Before." said Xin Ye. he realized that what he really wanted to do was to speak out on political questions. like Falun Gong?" He shook his head in disgus t. hoping he could do a better job with it.

a winter jacket selling for 300 yuan. The Great Firewall tends to slow down all traffic coming into the country from the world outside. and one day decided to take some of the cheap clothes she'd found at a local factory and put them up for auction online." he said. that she used to work as a full-time graphic designer. he told me. "If you talk every day online and criticize the government." The Internet brought Zhao a certain amount of political influence. as mysteriously as it had begun. defiant. I felt as if I'd accidentally stumbled into a chic SoHo boutique. Several young Chinese told me the same thing. Google still had troubles. "Because it's just talk. Zhao knew he was safe. His witty pro-free-speech essays. But even after being unblocked. The government was almost certainly still monitoring his work. the firewall would often retaliate by sending back a command that tricked the user's computer into believing Google itself . the government used the Great Firewall to block his site so that no one in China could read it. but remarkably. The blocking ended abruptly after two weeks. They sold quickly. When she opened the door to her apartment in a trendy area of Shanghai . Google never did figure out exactly why it was knocked offline in 2002 by the Chinese government. yet he seemed less excited about the way his blog might transform the government and more excited about the way it had transformed his sense of himself. Jiang sells mostly to Chinese in other major cities. because he knew where to draw the line. until one one day she realized that her eBay profits were outstripping her weekly paycheck. he switched over to Microsoft's blogging tool. Three long racks full of puffy winter jackets and sweaters dominated the center of the living room. but I'm not. hosted on a blogging service with servers in the U. a 29-year-old Chinese woman who makes her living selling clothes on eBay. Jiang told me. "My parents can't understand it. marketing cut-rate clothes directly to hipsters in London or Los Angeles. everyday ways. People say I'm brave. in December 2004 Zhao started his blog. she said. She quit her job and began auctioning full time. One afternoon I visited with Jiang Jingyi. It's not speech. But when Paypal ² eBay's online payment system ² finally links the global market with the Chinese market. But if you organize ² even if it's just three or four people ² that's what they crack down on. the government retaliated by shutting the paper down.000 yuan. and neat rows of designer running shoes and boots ringed the walls. and now her monthly sales are in excess of 100. Over the next three months. As she served me tea in a bedroom with four computers stacked on a desk. or about $12. she sold more and more clothes. she says she will become a small international business. Still eager to write. were soon drawing thousands of readers a day. and she made a 30 percent profit. If the Internet is bringing a revolution to China.K.2003 after his paper published an essay by a retired official advocating political reform. The firewall also began punishing curious minds: whenever someone inside China searched for a banned term. called MSN Spaces. through an interpreter. since China's rudimentary banking system and the lack of a reliable creditcard network mean there is no easy way to receive payments from outside the country." she said with a giggle. he continued writing. written under the name Michael Anti. it's organizing. it is experienced mostly as one of self-actualization: empowerment in a thousand tiny.000. Google was simply unavailable in China because of data jams. About 15 percent of the time. But she was a shopaholic. (Her description of the jacket translated as "Very trendy! You will look cool!") At the moment. as she clicked at the computer to show me one of her latest auctions. they don't care. Last August.

and its service would speed up. For several minutes. If Google remained aloof and continued to run its Chinese site fr om foreign soil. which meant that impressionable college students ² in other countries." It is precisely the solution you'd expect from a computer scientist: the absence of information is a type of information. amassing nearly half of the Chinese search market. and the site would be slowed down and occasionally blocked entirely by the firewall. because search engines like to boast about delivering results in milliseconds. Brin told me. Brin said. the loss of market share to Baidu and other Chinese search engines. When Chinese users search for forbidden terms. he argued. it would be doing good. environmental problems. which acquiesce to the censorship regime with a shrug. Baidu was the stick: by engine." then they would put a disclaimer at the top of the search results on google. these delays and shutdowns were a real problem. He said he thought it would be years before Google would make much if any profit in China. If it opened up a Chinese office and moved its servers onto Chinese territory. But then Google would be subject to China's self-censorship laws. Brin and other Google executives realized that the firewall allowed them only two choices. Chinese universities had virtually no access to foreign Web sites. Chinese surfers could still access the old google. They also decided they would not take down the existing. In essence. it could do better than the local Chinese firms. where the results would be censored by Google ² but would arrive quickly. the user would be unable to load Google's search page ² a digital slap on the wrist. memorials of the Tiananmen Square massacre ² along with pornography. Sure. "they can notice what's missing. Google could still improve Chinese citizens' ability to learn about AIDS. Google's chief Chinese-language rival. it would no longer have to fight to get past the firewall. What eventually drove Google into China was a carrot and a stick. reliably and unhindered by the firewall. since that could put them in a position of being forced to censor blog postings or hand over dissidents' personal information to th e secret police. For Google. while Google's market share remained stuck at 27 percent. or at least notice the local control. it would produce uncensored search results. The new option would be google. had no such problem. They decided that ² unlike Yahoo and Microsoft ² they would not offer e-mail or blogging services inside China. world markets. going into China "wasn't as much a business decision as a decision about getting people information. Revenue. the company's officials figured. wasn't a big part of the equation. In fact. it had thoroughly whomped its explaining that information had been removed in accordance with Chinese law. Brin and his team decided that if they were going to be forced to censor the results for a search for "Tiananmen Square. And we decided in the end that we should make this compromise.had gone dead. democracy Baidu.) . Worse." He and his executives began discussing exactly which compromises they could tolerate. The carrot was Google's halcyon concept of itself. the belief that merely by improving access to information in an authoritarian country. avian flu. as it were. unfiltered Chinese -language version of the google. But that was only a tiny percentage of what Chinese users search for on they would offer two search engines in Chinese. Certainly. because its servers were located on Chinese soil and thus inside the Great Firewall. Google's most ardent fans ² were flocking instead to Baidu. Google would have to censor the most politically sensitive Web sites ² religious groups. though controversial links would still lead to dead ends. neither of which they relished. where they strip out links to pro-Nazi Web sites. it would face slowdowns from the firewall and the threat of more arbitrary blockades ² and eventually. (Google displays similar disclaimers in France and Germany.

" Zhao Jing's Rankings . an Iowa Republican. The censorship was indeed comprehensive: the first page of results for "Falun Gong. the Google executives probably expected to appear comparatively responsible and ethical. Last September. They asked how a company with the slogan "Don't Be Evil" could conspire with China's censors. Google. Microsoft obeyed a government request to delete the writings of Zhao Jing ² the free-speech blogger I'd met with in the fall. it meant the government regarded it as illicit ² so it became part of Google's blacklist. 27 this year. we'd go to you. Google's image-searching engine ² which hunts for pictures ² produced equally skewed results. The China Storm Google.Brin's team had one more challenge to confront: how to determine which sites to block? The Chinese government wouldn't give them a list. Google's timing could not have been worse. They simply decided to do it ² and waited to see how the government would react. A query for "Tiananmen Square" omitted many iconic photos of the protest and the crackdown. the company effectively allowed China's censors to reach across the ocean and erase data stored on American territory. "So if this Congress wanted to learn how to censor. Then in December. Instead. consisted solely of anti-Falun Gong sites. a business journalist named Shi Tao. Reporters Without Borders revealed that in 2004. They set up a computer inside China and programmed it to try to access Web sites outside the country. it produced tourism pictures of the square lighted up at night and happy Chinese couples posing before it." they discovered. makers of hardware used in the Great Firewall ² legislators assailed all the firms. They never formally sat down with government officials and received permission to put the disclaimer on censored search results. If a site was blocked by the firewall. as the China storm swirled around Silicon Valley in February. had used his Chinese Yahoo account to leak details of a government document on press restrictions to a pro-democracy Web site run by Chinese exiles in New York. But formally opened on Jan. At the Congressional hearings where the three companies testified ² along with Cisco. So Google's engineers hit on a high -tech solution. and human-rights activists immediately logged onto the new engine to see how it worked. one after another. but ripped into Google with particular fire. Against this backdrop. The government sentenced him to 10 years in prison. Yahoo handed over an e-mail user's personal information to the Chinese government. "That makes you a functionary of the Chinese was introduced into a political environment that was rapidly souring for American high-tech firms in China. The Google executives signed their license to become a Chinese Internet service in December 2005. The user. What was most remarkable about this was that Microsoft's blogging service has no servers located in China. Google bore the brunt of it." said Jim Leach.

two month s after his pro-democracy blog was erased by Microsoft. they offered merely to burn them onto a CD and mail them to any address in the United States Zhao requested. there are no half-measures in democracy or free speech. but Zhao considered that a sin of omission. I met with Zhao Jing again. In December. a Chinese newspaper editor was fired. that the company would not even send the banned material into China by mail. A country either fully embraces these principles. But China's bloggers and Internet users have already lived at the bottom of the slippery slope. (Yahoo did not respond to requests for comment. Yahoo's behavior. and Zhao had nothing but venom for the company. had avoided introducing any service that could get someone jailed. Google. Microsoft came next. is that they refused to e -mail Zhao the postings. He was surprisingly philosophical. though he also seemed a bit rueful over his exuberant comments in our last conversation. the Internet ² as filtered as it is ² has already changed Chinese society profoundly. was at the top of the pile.) I expected Zhao to be much angrier with the American Internet companies than he was." he said. by contrast. Microsoft seemed chastened by the public uproar. (Microsoft declined to comment for this article. was that Yahoo had put individual dissidents in serious danger and done so apparently without thinking much about the human damage.In February. Microsoft appeared to be so afraid of the Chinese government. Yahoo came last. at the Congressional hearings. rather than of commission. It was more than just talk. This.) Google. "I'm more cynical now. Chinese people hate Yahoo. That apparently crossed the line. It was genuinely improving the qua lity of Chinese information and trying to do its best within a bad system. Microsoft was helping Chinese people to speak publicly. the company's director of government relations expressed regret. and Zhao called for a boycott of the paper. Microsoft executives pointed out that they h ad saved a copy of the deleted blog postings and sent them to Zhao. For the younger generation. ticking them off with his fingers. on balance. ultimately. To try to save face. Zhao was obviously unhappy with its decision. especially. too. The Distorted Universe Zhao's moral calculus was striking. put it in a different category: "Yahoo is a sellout. but he said that it had produced such an easy -to-use blogging tool that. he said. From their perspective. is the perspective that Google has adopted. For most Americans. Zhao was still as energetic as ever. he added. it has turned public speech into a daily act. The government contacted Microsoft to demand the blog be shuttered. It was censoring information. What they did not mention. or it disappears down the slippery slope of totalitarianism. And it raises an interesting question: Can an imperfect Internet help change a society for the better? . not least because it is so foreign to American ways of thinking." he said. His blog had been killed because of a single post. Zhao told me. who accused Microsoft of having acted without even receiving a formal legal request from the Chinese government. "Google has struck a compromise." The difference. Zhao said. Zhao had now called for a poli tical action. He ranked the companies in order of ethics. and the company complied ² earning it a chorus of outrage from free-speech advocates in the United States. We ordered drinks at a faux-Irish pub in downtown Beijing. Zhao noted with a bitter laugh. and compromises are sometimes necessary. or certainly for most of those who think and write about China.

9 percent of Wikipedia intact.O. Google's logic is the logic of appeasement. Like the companies that sought to "engage" with apartheid South Africa. "These guys at Harvard did a study of the Chinese Internet. Google's executives are too dedicated to profits ever to push for serious political change. The Super Girl Theory ." Guo said." he told me recently. the professor at the Chinese social sciences academy.000-year view of history." For Smith. the group is trying to convince Wikipedia's overseers to agree to the creation of a sanitized Chinese version with the potentially illegal entries removed. Guo Liang. and if that material were freely available in China. gi ve it time. "And that influences the next generation ² they think. 'We think the Chinese government tries to control the Internet. they say. Maybe we can live with this dictatorship. and they're like: 'Oh. It'll come back. Eric Schmidt. A search for Falun Gong in Chin a would produce no sites in favor of it. Google's C. it's got the imprimatur of Google. Which means that any Chinese citizen can sit in a Net cafe. but no sites opposing it either.' I just laughed. visited Kai-Fu Lee in Beijing and told journalists that it would be "arrogant" of Google to try to change China's censorship laws. making its act of censorship entirely transparent. 'We know that!' " Google's filtering of its results was not controversial for Guo because it was nothing new. 'What were your results?' They said. (Earlier this month.) But perhaps the distorted universe is less of a problem in China. "Chinese people have a 5. At one point while developing google. They argue that this would leave engine. the Chinese -American professor at the University of Hong Kong. Without your Lech Walesas. because ² as many Chinese citizens told me ² the Chinese people long ago learned to read past the distortions of Communist propaganda and media control." he plug "Tiananmen Square" into each version of the search engine and then compare the different results ² a trick that makes the blacklist somewhat visible. told me about one revealing encounter. (So far. "When Google sends you to a Chinese propaganda source on a sensitive subject. This is the fear of Christopher Perhaps they would trust Google's authority and assume there is nothing to be found.) Given how flexible computer code is. particularly for underfinanced and isolated schools. Google considered blocking all sites that refer to controversial topics. Andrew Lih. Critics have suggested that Google should go even further and actually publish its blacklist online in the United is blocked. the massive free online encyclopedia where anyone can write an entry. What sort of effect would that have had? Remember too that when Google introduced its censored google. I said. it also left its original google. Currently. said that many in China take a long-term perspective. the Republican representative who convened the recent Congressional hearings.One Internet executive I spoke to summed up the conundrum of China's Internet as the "distorted universe" problem. you never get democracy. all of wikipedia.. there are plenty of ways to distort the universe ² to make its omissions more or less Chinese-language engine online.' " Or consider the position of a group of Chinese Internet geeks trying to get access to Wikipedia. What happens to people's worldviews when they do a Google search for Falun Gong and almost exclusively find sites opposed to it. it would be a great boon for China.E. as would happen today on google. "I talked to them and asked. "You ban a Web site. Wikipedia has said it will not allow the creation of a censored version of the encyclopedia.

But the farmers. They may be right about their users' behavior. But the next minute he sounded more like Jack Ma of Alibaba ² insisting that the Chinese have no interest in rocking the boat. Who would openly search for illegal content in a public Internet cafe ² or even at home. but it might be a start. many of which the government violently suppressed.000 demonstrations in 2004. viewers could vote for their favorite competitor via text message from their mobile phones. video games ² an entire generation that is growing up with public speech as a regular habit. Lee talked about the "Super Girl" competition televised in China last year.) In each round. Google is lying to itself about the desires of Chinese Internet users and collaborating with the Communist Party merely to secure a profitable market." by the Irish band the Cranberries." It may not be a revolution. with delirious fans setting up Web sites urging voters to pick their favorite singer. blogging and chatting about their dates.When I spoke to Kai-Fu Lee in Google's Beijing offices. the winner was Li Yuchun. and they pose a real threat to Beijing. no Lech Walesa rallying his oppressed countrymen. in other words." in honor of its sponsor. "People voted for Super Girls. Google will try to maintain its other operations in China but this is unlikely to succeed." Much like the American version of the show. seeding a cultural change that strongly favors democracy. One minute he sounded like a freedom-loving Googler. arguing that the Internet inherently empowers its users. Any foreign business requires the approval of the Chinese government. Google has shown itself to be in opposition to the Chinese government ² this is an untenable position. it began to resemble a presidential election campaign. they staged 70. since the government requires that every person with personal Internet access register his name and phone number with the government for tracking purposes? It is also possible that the government's crackdown on the Internet could become more intense if the country's huge population of poor farmers begins agitating online. . a 21 -year-old who dressed like a schoolgirl and sang "Zombie. this is it. there will be no "great man" revolution in China. They loved it ² they went out and campaigned. In this view. their favorite bands. the country's analogue to "American Idol. it featured young women belting out covers of mainstream Western pop songs amid a blizzard of corporate branding. It is a circular logi c I encountered again and again while talking to China's Internet executives: we don't feel bad about filtering political results because our users aren't looking for that stuff anyway." Lee said. In the eyes of critics. As the season ran its course. Instead. eight million young Chinese used their mobile phones to vote. (The full title of the show was "Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Super Girl Contest. But you could just as e asily argue that their users are incurious because they're cowed. there were moments that to me felt jarring. To take Lee at his word is to take a leap of faith: that the Internet. will slowly chip away at the government's ability to control speech. The government is reasonably tolerant of well-educated professionals online. simply through its own inherent properties. are serious activists. upset about corrupt local officials. "If you think about a practice for democracy. In the final episode. the freedom fighters will be a half-billion mostly apolitical young Chinese. At one point in our conversation.

This also means that Google will unlikely be able to take part in joint ventures with others in China. But it is a bold move. In early February. « People in the 60 largest cities in China spend around 70 percent of their leisure time on the Internet. more than the entire population of the United States. This means Google is barred from the world¶s largest and fastest growing Internet market. It¶s a huge blow to its business and future strategy. the number of Internet users in China had touched 384 million. But what future is there for Eric Schmidt? He was unable to separate the issue of Internet censorship from Google¶s business in China. They¶ve put a huge price on the importance of Internet freedoms ² and that¶s commendable. a large Chinese advertising company. --- . In smaller towns. partly because China¶s cellular providers started offering 3G services widely last year. the corresponding number is 50 percent. Reuters reported that Google is a member of a consortium led by Disney. They shop online at auction Web sites such as Taobao. to buy a large stake in Bus Online. The PC is fast replacing the TV set as an entertainment hub« « One in five consumers between the ages of 18 and 44 won¶t purchase a product or service without first researching it on the Internet. if it is an opponent to the government. 233 million Chinese²twice as many as in the previous year²accessed the Net on handheld devices. Google. paying for products and services with prepaid Taobao cards that the post offices sell for a small commission. Too bad for Google it is absent from such a vital market. There¶s a big division between him and Messrs Page and Brin. The volume of e-commerce in China more than doubled last year. according to a survey we conducted in 2009. « Seismic changes are likely to take place in the Chinese consumer market because of the Internet²and we aren¶t talking just about the fact that 50 million Chinese may soon have to stop using their favorite search engine. Moreover. That¶s an increase of around 50 percent over 2008. Google¶s founders see the issue of Internet censorship as being important enough to give up its China business. The McKinsey Quarterly recently published an article titled: ³China¶s Internet obsession´ [free registration] looking at the market Google would leave behind. Here are some extracts: «by the end of 2009. It¶s difficult to see how this deal will go through with Google as a member.

as they are special entities recognized by international treaty vested with independent judicial power [3] and not subject to most laws of the PRC. There are no specific laws or regulations which the censorship follows. and organizations. more than sixty Internet regulations have been made by the People's Republic of China (PRC) government. and major portals such as Sohu and Sina usually are erased within minutes. anti-pollution. The size of the Internet police is rumored at more than 50.[5] Critical comments appearing on Internet forums. and censorship systems are vigorously implemented by provincial branches of state-owned ISPs. anti-corruption protests.´ The offences of which they are accused include communicating with groups abroad. and updated again on 20 May 1997. The censorship is not applied in Hong Kong and Macau. Amnesty International notes that China ³has the largest recorded number of imprisoned journalists and cyber-dissidents in the world. and ethnic riots.[4]including those requiring the restriction of free flow of information. The escalation of the government's effort to neutralize critical online opinion comes after a series of large anti-Japanese. The governmental authorities not only block website content but also monitor the Internet access of individuals.Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China Internet censorship in the People's Republic of China is conducted under a wide variety of laws and administrative regulations. and text messages. It was formally announced on 1 February 1996.[6] Beginning of Regulations China started its Internet censorship with three regulations issued by China¶s central government. many of which were organized or publicized using instant messaging services. business companies. The apparatus of the PRC's Internet repression is considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country in the world. and calling for reform and an end to corruption. signing online petitions. The regulation was passed in the 42nd Standing Convention of the State Council on 23 January 1996. chat rooms.[7] . blogs. The first regulation was called the Temporary Regulation for the Management of Computer Information Network International Connection. In accordance with these laws. opposing the persecution of the Falun Gong.000.

altering or adding data and application software for the purpose of memory. normally-blocked media sources such as CNN. It was issued on 18 February 1994 by the State Council to give the responsibility of Internet security protection to the Ministry of Public Security. However.´ (Item 6) ³All direct linkage with the Internet must go through ChinaNet. or transmission in a computer information network without authorization. and the Washington Post became accessible.[11] The blocks have often been lifted for special occasions. NBC. The New York Times was unblocked when reporters in a private interview with Jiang Zemin specifically asked about the block and he replied that he would look into the matter. For example. [10] Banning appears mostly coordinated and ad hoc. and to ³investigate and prosecute illegal criminal cases´ (Item 17) [8] The Ordinance regulation further led to the Security Management Procedures in Internet Accessing issued by the Ministry of Public Security in December 1997. the content controls have been further relaxed on a permanent basis. (2) Canceling. inspect and guide the security protection work´. Since 2001.´ (Item 8) The second regulation was the Ordinance for Security Protection of Computer Information Systems. access to the New York Times was briefly re-blocked as of 20 December .' 'splitting the nation. (5) Other activities that are harmful to the security of a computer information network. The regulation defines "harmful information" and further lists five kinds of harmful activities regarding Internet usage.' and leaking "state secrets." Violators could face a fine up to 15.The content of the first regulation states. disseminating destructive software such as a computer virus. with some sites blocked. altering or adding functions in a computer information network without authorization. GBNet. CERNET or CSTNET. (4) Intentionally producing. During the APECsummit in Shanghai during 2001. A license is required for anyone to provide Internet access to users. Public Security minister Zhu Entao released new regulations to be enforced by the ministry that inflict fines for 'defaming government agencies. processing. which is entitled to ³supervise. (3) Canceling. yet similar sites allowed or even blocked in one city and allowed in another.´ (Item 6) [9] Enforcement In December 1997. ³ (1) Intruding in a computer information network or making use of network resources without authorization. and all three of the sites previously mentioned are now accessible from mainland China.000 Yuan ($1800). ³ No units or individuals are allowed to establish direct international connection by themselves.

or transmit the following kinds of information: 1. by 2002 the preliminary work of the Golden Shield Project had cost US$800 million (equivalent to RMB 6. replicate. openly insulting other people or distorting the truth to slander people. Terrorism or inciting others to criminal activity. and the first part of the project passed the national inspection on 16 November 2006 in Beijing. It started in 1998. 3. According to China Central Television (CCTV).2008. harming national unification. Other activities against the Constitution.400 million or ¼640 million). murder. laws or administrative regulations. Injuring the reputation of state organizations. Inciting to overthrow the government or the socialist system. 2. 7. destroying the order of society. and Management Regulations approved by the State Council on 11 December 1997 states the following: No unit or individual may use the Internet to create. Promoting feudal superstitions. its purpose is to construct a communication network and computer information system for police to improve their capability and efficiency. 4. 6. 5. Chinese: j ndùn g ngchéng) is owned by the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China (MPS). Making falsehoods or distorting the truth. 9. Protection. retrieve. sexually suggestive material. [12] although it has been accessible for the first months of 2009 as of 17 May.[13] Golden Shield Project Main article: Golden Shield Project The Golden Shield Project (Chinese: . violence. Inciting to resist or breaking the Constitution or laws or the implementation of administrative regulations. According to MPS. began processing in November 2003. gambling. Inciting division of the country. spreading rumors. Inciting hatred or discrimination among nationalities or harming the unity of the nationalities. [14] . 8. The Chinese-language service of BBC News is still blocked. Section Five of the Computer Information Network and Internet Security.

] other information prohibited by the law or administrative regulations´. Davis and at the University of New Mexico said that the Great Firewall is not a true firewall since banned material is sometimes able to pass through several routers or through the entire system without being blocked. the State Council Order No.. 12 are currently blocked in mainland China.. [.. [. article 15 defines what information must be restricted: ³IIS providers shall not produce.[17] Article 14 gives Chinese officials full access to any kind of sensitive information they wish: ³ [.. Only ³licensed print publishers´ have the authority to deliver news online.] endangers national security. release. Non-licensed Web sites that wish to broadcast news may only publish information already released publicly by other news media. It consists of standard firewalls and proxy servers at the Internet gateways. The government does not appear to be systematically examining Internet content.] an IIS provider must keep a copy of its records for 60 days and furnish them to the relevant state authorities upon demand in accordance to the law.[16] Legislation In September 2000...[18] . as this appears to be technically impractical. The system blocks content by preventing IP addresses from being routed through.´ Finally. 292 created the first content restrictions for Internet content providers..]is detrimental to the honor of the state. or disseminate information that: [. These sites must obtain approval from state information offices and from the State Council Information Agency.. Censored content Out of the Top 100 Global Websites. [.The Golden Shield Project is part of what is sometimes known outside of mainland China as the Great Firewall of China (in reference both to its role as a network firewall and to the ancient Great Wall of China). China-based Web sites cannot link to overseas news Web sites or distribute news from overseas media without separate approval.] undermines social stability. the state¶s policy towards religion. Article 11 of this order mentions that ³content providers are responsible for ensuring the legality of any information disseminated through their services´. The system also selectively engages in DNS poisoning when particular sites are requested. reproduce...[15] Researchers at the University of California.

freedom of speech and democracy sites. an India-based dissident radio organization. such as Baidu and Google China. and Yahoo! Hong Kong  Media sites which may include unregulated content. The ChineseWikipedia and LiveJournal are examples of such blocked sites.[19]    "Nine Commentaries" or the nine articles that were published by theepochtimes. pornography. Voice of America and Yahoo! Hong Kong returned to their blocked status later on (as observed on 14 December 2009). the Chinese Wikipedia. if at all. presumably because of containing social or political commentary (similar to LiveJournal in the above list).[29] Blocked websites are indexed to a lesser degree. [25][26] Another reason suggested for the block is that activists can utilize them to organize themselves. Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. If a site is inaccessible. In the second half of 2009 the social networking sites Facebook and Twitter were that comment on the Chinese Communist Party[24] From the above list. BBC News. the websites of BBC News.[22][23] The website of the separatist Central Tibetan Administration and of the "Voice of Tibet".Research into mainland Chinese Internet censorship has shown that censored websites included. Google has set up computer systems inside China that try to access Web sites outside the country. then it is .[31] According to The New York Times.[30] According to a Harvard study.  Sites hosted by Taiwan's government and major newspaper and television media and other sites with information on Taiwanese independence[19] Web sites that contain obscenity. by some Chinese search engines. This sometimes has considerable impact on search results. An example is the commentary on the deadly riots in Xinjiang in July 2009. or criminal activity.000 websites are blocked from within mainland China. before the 2008 Summer Olympics:   Websites related to the persecuted Falun Gong spiritual practice[19][20] News sources that often cover some topics such as police brutality. at least 18. However.[21] These sites include Voice of America. social commentary or political commentary censored by the PRC.[27][28] In 2010 Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo became a forbidden topic in Chinese media due to his winning the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize. Yahoo! Hong Kong and the Voice of America were later unblocked (as observed on 17 August 2008).

[32] However. Tencent and Sohu revealed overwhelming (>70%) rejection of the software by netizens. and to avoid the effects on and the poisoning of our youth's minds by harmful information on the internet". announced that computer manufacturers and retailers were no longer obliged to ship the software with new computers for home or business use. minister of industry and information technology. as of 1 July 2009. the websites will be reindexed. the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China Central Committee issued an instruction requiring the Chinese media to stop publishing questioning or critical opinions. The instruction also required online forums to block and remove "offensive speech evolved from the topic" promptly.[38] A poll conducted by the Southern Metropolis Daily showed similar results.[39] On 10 June. Li Yizhong. internet cafes and other public use computers would still be required to run the software. saying that while the software is ostensibly aimed at protecting users against pornography on the web. once (if) unblocked. Qin Gang said the internet had always been open in China and that the government's administration of it to prevent the spread of harmful information was in accordance with the law.[40] Xinhua later commented that "support [for Green Dam] largely stems from end users.[34] The official statement claimed its objective was "to build a green. Green Dam Youth Escort A notice[33] issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on 19 May stated that.added to Google China's blacklist. opposing opinions primarily come from a minority of media outlets and businesses". manufacturers must ship machines to be sold in mainland China with the Green Dam software. but that schools. and that manufacturers are required to report the number of machines shipped with the software to the government.[41][42] On 14 August 2009.[37] Online polls conducted on Sina. Netease. said: "Our software is simply not capable of spying on Internet users. Foreign ministry official. it is only a filter. The general manager of Jinhui. it "is really a thinly concealed attempt by the government to expand censorship".[35] A senior official of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office said the software's only purpose was "to filter pornography on the Internet"."[36] Human rights advocates and internet users in China have been especially critical. and harmonious online environment. which developed Green Dam. healthy. .

com (translation) Coinciding with the twentieth anniversary of the government suppression of the prodemocracy protests in Tiananmen Square. Nevertheless. A number of websites. images and video footage of the demonstrations and rioting were soon found posted on Twitter. and blocked access to Facebook and Twitter as well as local alternatives Fanfou and Youku. and to suppress our extremely unharmonious thoughts. This move is widely supported by the public ³ ´ ±Chinese censors.Political censorship July 2009 Ürümqi riots Government censors disabled keyword searches for "Urumqi".[43] Internet connections in Urumqi were reportedly down. YouTube and this site is voluntarily closed for technical maintenance between 3 and 6 June 2009. the government ordered internet portals. Chinese news sites mainly fed from Xinhua news service for updates about the rioting in Urumqi. made a veiled protest at state censorship by referring to the date ." Dusanben.[44] Many unauthorized postings on local sites and Google were said to have been "harmonised" by government censors. forums and discussion groups to shut down their servers for maintenance between 3 and 6 June. South China Morning Post The Guardian reported that in excess of 300 Chinese sites had "posted increasingly blasé maintenance messages on the anniversary".. such as Fanfou andWordKu.[45] 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square protests "For reason which everyone knows..[46] In order to improve the internet content and provide a healthy environment for our netizens. and emails containing terms related to the riots were blocked or edited to prevent discord. comments features on websites were disabled on some stories to prevent negative posts about the lack of news. we have designated 3 to 6 June as the national server maintenance day.

Sichuan[53] Partial censorship The censorship at the press center added to a growing skepticism about the claims of the government that it would improve its record on human rights."[49] IOC press chief Kevan Gosperadmitted that. including nonpolitically sensitive parts of English Wikipedia. Chinese users of Twitter. I also now understand that some IOC officials negotiated with the Chinese that some sensitive sites would be blocked on the basis they were not considered Games related. such as bulletin board services on tecn. after the IOC protested that ongoing blocking "would reflect very poorly" on the host nation. Hotmail and Flickr. the IOC and Jacques Rogge had stated that Internet access would not be censored at the Olympic Village press center. [55] Some websites and blogs with politically sensitive content. and cjn. the Chinese government. reported a widespread inability to access these services. and IOC press chief Kevan Gosperapologized to journalists for giving the impression that Internet access during the Olympics would be completely unrestricted. on 31 July 2008. indicated that the media will have "convenient and sufficient" access to the Internet.000 foreign journalists would be directly affected. journalists that arrived at the press center after its opening on 25 July found that sites containing politically sensitive matter were inaccessible and learned that the IOC had quietly agreed to "some of the limitations. Furthermore. he also said that the government won't allow the spread of any information on the internet that is forbidden by Chinese law or harms national interests."[50] Foreign media was not informed about this private agreement. the Technology Ministry said that there would continue to be controls.[48] IOC agreement Initially.[49] However. and it was unclear what the final list of prohibited sites would be.[55] .[52] the BOCOG Chinese 21CN.[54] A pre-Olympics crackdown by the China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre on ³illicit´ websites. Shenzhen online. Sun Weide.sarcastically as "Chinese Internet Maintenance Day".[49] However. temporarily shut down Qingdaonews.[49] The "broken promise" was condemned by Reporters Without Borders who pointed out that about 20. "I regret that it now appears BOCOG has announced that there will be limitations on Web site access during Games time.[51] China had unblocked access to some Internet Web sites. among and Xici.[47] The day before the mass shut-down. have been blocked. Tom online.

including the popular internet chatting service "QQ". Even though Chinese officials and high-ranking IOC members have repeatedly said there would be no censorship on the Internet for accredited journalists covering the games. and Suzanne Vega. Reporters Without Borders subsequently confirmed that its website. the BBC's English website previously barred.'s online iTunes Store was blocked in China after it emerged that Olympic athletes had been downloading a pro-Tibetan album in a subtle act of protest. Sites that host thousands of blogs are also routinely blocked. Access to Apple. except for the Chinese version. the spiritual movement Falun Gong. was accessible for the first time in China since 2003.[ On 2 August 2008. Reporters without Borders claims that there has been increased restriction of domestic websites and online activity. if slow to load ± as does the Hong Kong-based Apple Daily. for example. Reuters reported that Internet restrictions would be lifted for reporters covering the Olympics. are blocked. some previously-blocked websites became accessible. As of 4 August. The BBC's Chinese-language site was intermittently accessible and blocked. in response to international criticism. Human Rights in China and websites affiliated with Tibetan independence and the outlawed spiritual movement Falun Gong. Some key words always draw blank screens. Many websites related to Falun Gong and Tibet remained blocked. While some previously-censored foreign websites were accessible during the Olympics. the Associated Press reported that although Chinese organizers unblocked some sites at the request of the IOC. [56] Beginning 1 August. However the Chinese version was blocked again in December 2008. Inc.On 1 August 2008. many sites the Chinese government objects to. As of 5 August. and features 20 tracks from well-known singers and songwriters including Sting. remain open. including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. remained inaccessible inside and outside of Olympic venues. However. The sites being blocked seem to change daily. Moby. The album. Songs for Tibet. was produced by a group called The Art of Peace Foundation. this action lasted only for a short time before it was revoked by the government. The Chinese version of the website is still blocked. . others remained censored for journalists covering the Summer Games.

with the help of the World Organization for Human Rights.[64] On 18 July 2008. because sites will be blocked if customers fail to filter out illegal information. Forums mediators should check any new posts before publishing. Wang Xiaoning and other Chinese activists were arrested and sentenced to 10 years in prison for using a Yahoo email account to post anonymous writing to an Internet mailing list. the family of Liu Shaokun was notified that he had been sentenced to one year re-education through labor for ³inciting a disturbance´. Huang Qi was formally arrested on suspicion of illegally possessing state secrets. A teacher in Sichuan province. Huang had spoken with the foreign press and posted information on his website about the plight of parents who had lost children in collapsed schools. another online activist sued Yahoo. Any sites with illegal information will be blocked automatically. Wang and Shi Tao. and site owners will not be able to request unblocking as they normally can.[65] Locking data centres The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the People's Republic of China ordered all ISPs to lock down their data centers from 1±25 August 2008. Customers will not be able to enter data centers. Customers should manage their sites carefully. companies have suggested: 1.[67] Companies have received orders stating that from 1±25 August 2008: 1. Customers will not able to add new hardware.[63] On 23 July 2008. Authorities stated it was to ensure data security. he had taken photographs of collapsed schools and posted these photos online.[66] customers. However. . Sites with illegal information were blocked automatically. accusing the Internet provider of abetting the torture of prodemocracy writers by providing information that allowed the Chinese government to identify them. and customers should shut down all interactive services including forums. 2. to prevent hostile personnel ISP/IDCs from have entering sent data centers "lockdown and adding notices" illegal to information. which Yahoo. In customers' interests. 3. after pressure from the Chinese government eventually blocked.Crackdown on Internet activists In 2001. [66] During this time no one could enter data centers to do maintenance.

Previously. Reduce displayed the following at the bottom of the page: "According to the local laws. many search engines had been blocked. a connection containing intensive censored terms may also be closed by The Great Firewall. Contact the company as soon as possible if a customer wants to add new hardware. Before the search engines censored themselves. namely Google and AltaVista. 3.[70] Different search engines implement the mandated censorship in different ways. and cannot be reestablished for several and Google China) as well as domestic ones (for example. including the SMTH BBS and theYTHT BBS. This affects all network connections including HTTP and POP. yahoo. Self-censorship Internet censorship in the PRC has been called "a panopticon that encourages selfcensorship through the perception that users are being watched. ." As was the case when searching for information about the 2011 uprising in Egypt.[71] CERNET Several Bulletin Board Systems in universities were closed down or restricted public access since 2004. has been blocked. Avoid maintenance. the search engine Bing is reported to censor search results from searches conducted in simplified Chinese characters (used in the PRC). but the reset is more likely to occur during searching. Search engines One part of the block is to filter the search results of certain terms on Chinese search engines.2.[68] In addition. google."[16] The enforcement (or threat of enforcement) of censorship creates a chilling effect where individuals and businesses willingly censor their own communications to avoid legal and economic repercussions. Baidu). part of the searching result is not shown. a search engine for blogs. regulations and policies. These Chinese search engines include both international ones (for example. For example.[69] Technorati. Professor Yantao BI reported on 30 October 2008 that some websites in mainland China have already imposed the controversial true-name registration policy. Attempting to search for censored keywords in these Chinese search engines will yield few or no results. but not in traditional Chinese characters (used in Taiwan and elsewhere).

[73] By the time local officials forced the story to be removed from the Internet. [10] However. colloquially known as "big mamas". the news had already been widely disseminated.[citation needed] In addition. thus became publishers. In Shenzhen. One is to post politically sensitive stories and remove them only when the government complains. the threat of being shut down has caused Internet content providers to employ internal staff.[74] Some hotels in China are also advising internet users to obey local Chinese internet access rules by leaving a list of internet rules and guidelines near the computers. Jingjing and Chacha. among . In July 2007. These cartoons spread across the nation in 2007 reminding internet users that they are being watched and should avoid posting 'sensitive' or 'harmful' material on the internet. who help extend the online 'police presence' of the Shenzhen authorities. Internet content providers have adopted some counter-strategies. as the ISPs and other service providers are restricting customers' actions for fear of being found legally liable for customers' conduct. Although the government does not have the physical resources to monitor all Internet chat rooms and forums. the information is already public.000 Web sites registered in Xiamen. this is actually only a part of the PRC effort to censor the Internet. these duties are partly taken over by a pair of police-created cartoon characters. The ability to censor content providers within mainland China is much more effective. people read it. The service providers have assumed an editorial role with regard to customer content. Internet content providers often replace censored forum comments with white space which allows the reader to know that comments critical of the authorities had been submitted. Internet users will be required to provide proof of identity when posting messages on the more than 100.Local businesses Although blocking foreign sites has received much attention in the West. These rules. the city of Xiamen announced it would ban anonymous online postings after text messages and online communications were used to rally protests against a proposed chemical plant in the city. One notable case in which this occurred was in response to a school explosion in 2001. who stop and remove forum comments which may be politically sensitive. and legally responsible for libel and other torts committed by customers. and often to guess what they might have been. and by the time the story is taken down. In the hours or days in which the story is available online. when local officials tried to suppress the fact the explosion resulted from children illegally producing fireworks.

"[81] . Some[who?] argue that it is wrong for companies to profit from censorship including restrictions on freedom of the press and freedom of speech. the Dalai Lama. Others[who?] argue that equipment being supplied. Also. the government could be forced to change. AOL. By contrast. agreed that the Chinese are better off with Windows Live Spaces than without it. in accordance with mainland Chinese laws. including having internal content monitors. Microsoft began to censor the content of its blog service Windows Live Spaces. arguing that continuing to provide Internet services is more beneficial to the Chinese.[79] The Chinese version of standard Internet infrastructure equipment and that providing this sort of equipment actually aids the flow of information. and Skype who abide by PRC government wishes. subverting the government. and that the PRC is fully able to create its own infrastructure without Western help. and other "inappropriate topics" has been added. spreading rumors or disturbing the social order. CBSreports an estimate that half the interactive sites hosted in China were blocked. some data centers were shut down indiscriminately for providing interactive features such as blogs and forums.[75] In September 2007.from companies such as the American based Cisco Systems Inc. in order to be able to operate within mainland China. and inform internet users that if they do..[76] International corporations One controversial issue is whether foreign companies should supply equipment to the PRC government which may assist in the blocking of sites. forbid linking to politically unacceptable messages. A similar dilemma is faced by foreign content providers such as Yahoo! (See Shi Tao for more information[77]).[80] Users are also given the ability to report the "misconduct" of other users for offenses including "endangering national security. Falun Gong. undermining national unity. a Chinese journalist whose blog on Windows Live Spaces was removed by Microsoft.other things. Discussion forums on topics such as religion and politics are absent and a filtering system that prevents the posting of content aboutTaiwan independence. leaking state secrets. human rights advocates such as Human Rights Watch and media groups such as Reporters Without Borders argue that if companies stopped contributing to the authorities' censorship efforts.[78] Michael Anti. has many censorship-related differences from other international versions of the service. launched in April 2007. they will have to face legal consequences.

Mr.Additionally. Yetaai ( ) sued Shanghai Telecom. Many dating and "adult chat" sites. OSCE and OAS special mandates on freedom of expression called on Internet corporations to "work together . Liberalization of sexually oriented content Although restrictions on political information remain strong. Mr. magazines and websites. Some. a sub-company of China Telecom.S. several sexually oriented blogs began appearing in early 2004. His lawsuit was accepted by Pu Dong Court.[82] Reactions Legal action On 9 May 2007.. This coincided with an artistic nude photography fad (including a self-published book by dancer Tang Jiali) and the appearance of pictures of minimally clad women or even topless photos in a few mainland Chinese newspapers. Women using the web aliases Muzi Mei ( and Zhuying Qingtong ( Ô) ) wrote online diaries of their sex lives and became minor celebrities. however. thus self-insulating their economy from the dominance of international corporations. reporters in the western media have also suggested that China's internet censorship of foreign websites may also be a means of forcing mainland Chinese users to rely on China's own e-commerce industry." Google finally responded when attacked by hackers . continue to be accessible although this appears to be due more to the Chinese government's ignorance of their existence than any particular policy of leniency. to resist official attempts to control or restrict use of the Internet. This was widely reported and criticized in mainland Chinese news media.. have been blocked. On 21 December 2005 the UN. Europe and Australia with over US $21 billion in joint assets announced that they were urging businesses to protect freedom of expression and pledged to monitor technology companies that do business in countries violating human rights. such as China. both Chinese and foreign. Shanghai.. Yetaai reported it through his online diary (English). and several of these bloggers' sites have since been blocked in China to this day.[citation needed ] Corporate responsibility On 7 November 2005 an alliance of investors and researchers representing 26 companies in the U. because one of his sites[citation needed] was blocked from access in China. He also raised an item for online ticketing through an article on Digg. He then took a series of steps including raising maintenance request and notarization.

" a free. and other information and news sources.[citation needed] Some China-focused services explicitly offer to change a blog's IP address within 30 minutes if it is blocked by the authorities.[86] Thus for the moment. told CBC News Online. Since free hosting blog services like Blogger and Wordpress. Since 25 September 2009. . Psiphon is a circumvention technology that works through social networks of trust and is designed to help Internet users bypasscontent-filtering systems set up by governments. so it allows a breach of anonymity.[83] VPN and SSH connections to outside mainland China are not blocked.[85] The Tor website is blocked although the Tor network isn't. although no guarantee can be made with regard to freedom from repercussions. Tor allows uncensored downloads and uploads. bloggers and webmasters aiming for an audience in China often debate merits of the various paid hosting services. According to the sections 6.4 and 7.[88] As an alternative to Tor. psiphon's lead engineer.rumoured to be hired by the Chinese government by threating to pull out of China (Newsweek) Technical efforts at breaking through The firewall is largely ineffective at preventing the flow of information and is rather easily circumvented by determined parties by using proxy servers outside the firewall.[citation needed] Tor maintains a public list of entry nodes. so circumventing all of the censorship and monitoring features of the Great Firewall of China is trivial for those who have these secure connection methods to computers outside mainland China available to them. making Tor (in conjunction with Privoxy) an effective tool for circumvention of the censorship controls if one can acquire it. Michael Hull. Tor is vulnerable to timing analysis by Chinese authorities. Director of the Citizen Lab. about 80% of the public relays are blocked by IP address and TCP port combination[87] but Tor users are still connecting to the network through non-public relays (bridges). user-maintained online encyclopedia. "We're aiming at giving people access to sites like Wikipedia. there are various HTTP/HTTPS Tunnel Services. so the authorities could easily block it if they had the frequently face blockage. [84] Psiphon is a software project designed by University of Toronto's Citizen Lab under the direction of Professor Ronald Deibert.

However. ten in number. Film. this feature of Google seems to be under some level of blocking. These include:      needed] (This Ultrareach Gollum picidae Freegate Garden and GTunnel by Garden Networks Societal and cultural evasion The Baidu 10 Mythical Creatures. including violence.[90][91] These hoaxes. and Television issued a directive on 30 March 2009 to highlight 31 categories of content prohibited online.[89] It is believed that elgooG survived the Great Firewall of China because the firewall operators thought that elgooG was not a fully functional version of Google. as access is now erratic and does not work for blocked websites. reportedly originated in response to increasingly pervasive and draconian online censorship and have become an icon of citizens' resistance to censorship. initially a humorous hoax. Some well-known proxy servers have also been blocked. referring to an early blockade of Google in 2002) There are several techniques (websites and programs) that may be used to browse blocked sites. Industry observers believe that the move was designed to stop the spread of parodies or other comments on politically sensitive issues in the runup to the anniversary of the 4 June Tiananmen Square protests.[citation information is out of date. Currently the block is mostly circumvented by using proxy servers outside the firewall. Many netizens believe the instruction follows the official embarrassment over the "Grass Mud Horse" and the "River Crab". has become a popular and widespread internet meme in China.[94] .[92][93] The State Administration of Radio. pornography and content which may "incite ethnic discrimination or undermine social stability". Some Chinese citizens used the Google mirror elgooG after China blocked Google. and is not difficult to carry out for those determined to do so.It was common in the past to use Google's cache feature to view blocked websites.

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