The people of China need to stand up and pay attention not only to the censorship that is rampant in the country, but also to the danger of addiction (to the point of not eating or drinking) to video games. It is not safe to test your limits while maximizing your character in an online universe. One must remember that the real game is real life, and video games are just an escape (albeit short and fun-filled) from the reality.
An unidentified 30 year old Chinese man slipped into a coma, and died in a clinic later, after playing a video game in an internet cafÃ© non-stop for three days. The man had not slept for the three days, and had consumed very little sustenance. The cafÃ©, in the capital city of Beijing, also said that in his last month, the man had spent more than 10,000 yuan ($1,500) on massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs).
While this kind of behavior can be attributed to players who are completely at the mercy of the virtual world, it seems that this man had some unresolved issues with his life due to which he turned to video gaming. The indifference to life in general and a sudden, unhealthy addiction to something points to depression or other psychological problems.
Nevertheless, internet cafÃ© providers need to meter the usage of patrons. The casual ignorance of the managers of the parlor is partly to blame; just because the man had the money does not mean the providers ignore his health.
China is a hard country to live in, especially if you are a free speech enthusiast. China has this great firewall that pretty much filters everything it wants to. Nothing goes out and nothing comes in without China wanting it, or so it seems.
China takes every possible step in censoring any form of content that harms the Government’s interests. Enter Tiananmen into any form of online search in China and you will see a message announcing the ban of the content. However, clever Chinese microbloggers found a way around this ban, and the solution is geeky.
CNN reports this as,
Type the words “Egypt,” “Tiananmen” or “June 4th, 1989″ into any of China’s microblogging sites and the search will return this message: “According to relevant law and regulations, the results are not displayed.”
But type in “8×8″ — shorthand for 64, in turn shorthand for 6/4 or June 4th; the date of the Tiananmen crackdown — and you may catch some lively and surprisingly open exchanges on the social networking sites.
Either this, or, as a Chinese microblogger hints that the government has grown a bit weary about activities that try to bypass the effect of the firewall, and is ignoring them now. Some top government officials, including the Chinese President himself, have their own microblogs and this is indicative of acceptance from the Government. The last time we heard such a bypass of the Firewall, it was by an open source mail protocol.
What is worth noting here is that either way, people win. This is groundbreaking considering it is China we are talking about.
Created in May 2009, the foe project was an anti-censorship tool that allowed users to read news over the Internet without any form of censorship. Today, Google’s foe project has been seen as a potential tool to circumvent the Great Firewall of China.
Foe or Feed Over email has a Google code-hosting page that can be found here. The page describes this project as,
Users in Internet censored countries often find themselves unable to access foreign news websites or RSS feeds such as the ones from Voice of America, CNN, BBC, etc.
Until now, the only way users in censored countries can access these websites is to use a proxy server or install proxy software on their computer.
FOE (Feed Over Email) is a new tool that allows users to receive RSS feeds from foreign websites without the need to find a working proxy server or install any proxy software.
Technically, FOE is built on top of SMTP and work on most email servers as long as the user has access to POP3 and SMTP.
The US government has used this project to breach the firewall and information on the use of this project in the government was fetched with a Freedom of Information Act request.
This service solely depends on the fact that mail servers from outside China are allowed to communicate inside. Now that the fact has been discovered, China will probably block mail servers outside the country. This act by the US government can also be considered as cyber warfare by China. China has grown to be quite aggressive in its approach and its next move in this regard will be the gossip of the town for the next few days.
With the rampant rise of mobile phones around the world, carriers and customers have been facing an increase in malware on their devices. China plans to put an end to phone manufacturers installing covert applications, that rack up revenue by sending premium SMS text messages on behalf of the user. Knownsec, a Chinese security company, says that the majority of devices that are plagued by this problem are knock-off phones using Android – since it allows for easy installation of applications before they reach consumer hands.
The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology have issued a release in which they indicate that carriers and government agencies will begin to implement countermeasures to fight against malware, which includes inspection of handsets and product quality assurance.
A members of China’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team says “Traditional security threats that exist on the Internet are spreading to mobile handsets, so we must prepare for them in advance”.
Image courtesy of F-Secure Archives
China already has the world’s largest base of Internet users. Its Internet usage has been so immense, that a new business has sprung up in the niche that helps people abstain from using the Internet- Chinese Internet Bootcamps.
China has claimed 450 million Internet users this year, a number that is one third of China’s entire population. China was already at the top of the list and the current figure is an increase of 20% from last year. Given such a large population on Internet users, the Chinese government’s crackdown on violence and pornography is justified as it affects a large part of the nation.
China has already shutdown 60,000 websites and handed sentences to more than 2000 people for offensive content. Wang Chen, head of China’s State Council Information Office has remarked on the recent crackdowns saying,
Our campaign has not come to a stop. This will be a long battle.
He is pleased with the work his people have done. Moreover, the Great Firewall of China has proven extremely effective in blocking politically offensive content.
Another interesting fact from the report is the increase in the population of mobile Internet users. This population numbers at 277 million, which is well over half of the total Internet users. Clearly, if you want to start an online business, you should not ignore China.
In a recent move, China has blocked access to WikiLeaks and the released documents. It has also blocked access to some of the Chinese news sites who covered and published the released documents. This has been done to preserve China-US relations. However, blocking the content is not be best way to do so as the people of China will eventually grow even more curious about what was out there.
Hong Lei, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said at a Beijing news conference:
China takes note of the government reports. We hope the U.S. side will handle the relevant issues. As for the content of the documents, we will not comment on that.
The only articles that people in China can see are US responses on the matter.
For China, making this move is very relevant as the released cables include a Chinese individual telling the US embassy in China about the Chinese Politburo that attempted to hack into Google China computers and mastered the Operation Aurora.
Whether this irrational blocking of WikiLeaks by China is strictly, a measure to prevent any harm to diplomatic relations with the US or to keep people out of the loop on the proceedings of this matter is a mystery.
WikiLeaks has started turning some heads with the latest release of documents. In one of the released documents, lie unseen secrets of the Google-China incident.
A revelation from WikiLeaks has confirmed that China’s Politburo was indeed after the Google hacking earlier this year. The whole matter resulted in a huge drama with Google pulling out of China, and then coming back after a few months in summer.
The matter has been published as compiled documents by the NYT and the Guardian. Ironically, WikiLeaks, the authority on this leak has lost its website to a patriot hacker and is hoping to see some uptime at 3:30 tomorrow, when the official release is scheduled. I am sure WikiLeaks has the better documents well hidden with itself.
According to the report which directly blames China,
A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.
Yesterday we posted that Apple’s iPhone 4 finally went on sale in China, within 3 months of its launch in US. This handset is available exclusively on the airwaves China Unicom. According to the carrier, they have received 50,000 pre-orders on the first day itself and more than 200,000 pre-orders by early Saturday. The iPhone 4 attracted a massive crowd of people on the day of its launch, at their new store in Beijing.
The iPhone 4 is hugely popular in China and the demand of this handset exceeds the supply. China Unicom will increase its supply to meet the demands as quickly as possible. The original iPhone was launched in China after a lag of 28 months, but the latest iPhone was launched within 3 months. This is the main reason why the sales of iPhone 4 is so high and the sales of the original iPhone was so dull in China.
iPhone 4 is available in China, in both the 16GB and 32GB flavors. iPhone 4 is available for qualified buyers with a two year contract at China Unicom retail stores. You can also purchase this handset without any contract for CNY4,999 (approx. $740) for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 (approx. $900) for 32GB model.
Last week we posted that Apple is going to launch its popular smartphone, the iPhone 4 in China on September 25. Finally iPhone 4 is available for purchase in China and it attracted a massive crowd of people at their new store in Beijing. Apple’s Retail Stores was also inaugurated at Hong Kong Plaza in Shanghai and at Xidan Joy City in Beijing.
The iPhone 4 was launched back in June in the US and finally after three months, this smartphone is available for purchase in China. iPhone 4 is available in China, in both the 16GB and 32GB flavors. This handset is available in China, exclusively on the airwaves China Unicom.
According to China Unicom, 50,000 users pre-ordered this device on the first day itself. Apple sold only 5000 units of iPhone 3GS in China on the first three days of its launch in China, but the sales of iPhone 4 is expected to outpace its predecessor.
This amazing smartphone comes with a price tag of CNY4,999 (approx. $740) for the 16GB model and CNY5,999 (approx. $900) for 32GB model. iPhone 4 is also available for qualified buyers with a two year contract at China Unicom retail stores.
Do you still remember the Samsung Wave 723, which was announced last month by Samsung Electronics? This is the fourth handset powered by Samsung’s BADA Operating System. Wave 723 is based on the bada SDK 1.1 and it has the Auto-UI scaling feature.
This device was expected to launch this month in Germany and other European markets, Southeast Asia, the Middle East Asia and Africa, but the company hasn’t launched the device yet. According to the guys at Samsung Hub, the Samsung Wave 723 will soon launch in China
Samsung Wave 723 features a 3.2 inch touchscreen display, BADA OS, 5 megapixel camera with LED flash, Wi-Fi, 3G Connectivity, Bluetooth 3.0, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 3.5mm audio jack, Social Hub, dedicated camera button, flip leather cover, Samsung Apps support and more.
Samsung Wave 723 will be soon available on the airwaves of China Unicom. The price of this handset is not available yet.