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China’s Netizen Number Jumps to 420 Million
Brief:According to the 26th data report released by the CNNIC (China Internet Network Information Center) in June 2010 on the development of the internet in the country, internet users in China have reached 420 million – signifying a better popularization of internet in the country.

China now has 420 million internet users according to official figures released by the China Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) this month. This is nearly a third of China’s population (31.8% penetration) and is up by 36 million since the end of 2009, making China the first country in the world to have over 400 million internet users.

The CNNIC released the figures that included other staggering numbers: 277 million mobile users in China access the internet over their phones and 142 million shop online. The numbers reflect up until the end of June.

In fact, China had already replaced the United States of America as the world’s number one in internet user count in 2007. In Western democratic societies such as US, the advent of the internet may provide citizens a new means of communication, but for developing countries such as China, the internet might be a great shock to society because the nature of this new medium (hard to control and censor) is not compatible with the media control system.

Within the context of China’s ‘commandist media system’ in order to keep political homogeneity, the citizens are not able to discuss state issues via the mass media. So, the development of the internet and the growth of internet users actually brought political and social risks to the Chinese government. Facing the challenges, what Chinese government did is to maintain its information control over the internet, just like what they did on the traditional media. That is why the popular US micro-blog and social networking sites including Twitter, Facebook and Youtube have all been banned in China.

Since Twitter and Facebook was blocked in China, most of the portal websites, such as Sina, Sohu, 163.com and Tencent, have introduced micro-blogging services. Within one year, for example, Sina Micro-blogging service claimed that they have 20 million users.

Global Times

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