Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

More worrisome news about China and the internet

By Aussiegirl

I had read that Accoona was to be superior to other search engines, but according to this article it may help China become immune to any arm-twisting over internet freedoms.

FrontPage magazine.com :: Beijing's Freedom of Suppression by Robert T. McLean

March 8, western investors and the Chinese government came together at the United Nations headquarters in New York to unveil a product that derives its name from the Swahili phrase “no worries.” The new product, an internet search engine named Accoona, however, causes ample reason for concern. Beijing’s grip on the media and expression ranks among the tightest in the world and their control of the internet is no different. With little sign of relaxing its censorship policies and the China Daily Information Company’s partnership with Accoona, it appears that the greatest instrument in the advancement of free speech will fail to breakdown the information barrier surrounding the People’s Republic of China.

With the introduction of the internet in China in the 1990’s, the hope was – and still remains to a degree – that the expansion of internet activity would cause the information monopoly of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to crack and the regime subsequently would be forced to accept a more liberal exchange of ideas. This clearly has not transpired, and censorship of the internet in China continues to suppress the availability of objective information.

[...] An obstacle to Western efforts to encumber Beijing’s freedom to censure the internet could very well be the growth of Accoona. The July 2004 agreement between Accoona and the China Daily Information Company cemented a twenty-year agreement providing the New Jersey based search engine with exclusive rights to become the official provider for ChinaDaily.com. Essentially a branch of the State Council of Information, the government-owned China Daily is simply another instrument in the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda machine. With over five million viewers a day, the Chinese news site will provide Accoona with a considerable market-share in the country’s internet search engine sector, and that very partnership will likely result in an expanding government influence on Accoona.

[...] Accoona’s official web site claims that the China Daily Information Company has “a significant equity stake in Accoona Corp.,” and that with the twenty year partnership, “Accoona is poised to be the premiere Internet Search Site for the fastest growing economy of the 21st Century.” With these developments the Chinese government may become immune to regulatory measures passed in the United States as Accoona is altered into an essentially Chinese company and seeks favor with the CCP, not the United States Congress. Thus, for those who continue to be deceived by the notion that the internet will provide a catalyst for transparency in the People’s Republic of China, the case of Accoona displays that the Chinese regime is likely to have greater influence on the internet than the internet will have on the regime.


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