When I was reading Measuring the Information Society (International Telecommunication Union) 2011, I found it interesting to see ICT Development Index of China is really low, which ranked 80 in 2010 and 75 in 2008. Compared to Hongkong (both 6 in 2010 and 2008) and Macao (21 in 2010 and 27 in 2008), its ranking made me relate this to my personal experience since I grew up in China and I did a lot of research before about China’s online censorship and other national policies that affect ICT development.
In 2008, Summer Olympics Games was held in Beijing. I was a volunteer. With much international attention and visitors, since then China has been strengthening it online censorship to ensure online speech won’t affect its political stability. If my memory works, Facebook is blocked since then. The population to access the Internet is growing so fast and the base is getting really huge in Asia, the Chinese government encounters the a various of problems and pressure. One side is the global free market, the other side is the political stability. The control of information flow has been brought on the table with more focus, which makes the Golden Shield Project a prior place. There is even a online “water army” or “five-cent party”(a group of people as private sectors to comment or delete inappropriate user content; five-cents refers to that each person get paid five cents every time they delete or report certain content) working for government.
Language barrier, as another factor, makes it hard for the international society to assess ICT development in China. With the development of ICT, the government’s public files and policies should be more accessible to the public. But the fact from my experience, a lot of local government websites have empty content for the weekly or monthly report even though there is a form for them.