SOCIAL MEDIA IN CHINA
How do Westerners perceive social media in China and other Eastern cultures? Based on media reports, most opinions evolve around negative or political activities. But according to Sam Flemming of CIC, Westerners can actually learn a lot from China’s social practices.
First of all, social media has been prominent in China since the 1990’s. Although Facebook and Twitter receive a lot of negative press in China, social activity is still alive with local social platforms.
The most popular platforms are listed below, showing clearly that people have multiple accounts as there are only about 400m online users in China:
For example and according to a recent report, Chinese netizens are twice as likely to use chat and three times more likely to micro-blogging, blog and the use of video conference than American users. The Netpop Research study shows that mainland Chinese citizens are “more likely to share information broadly and openly.” This comes as a surprise as the country’s censorship has been such a topic of contention. Nevertheless, the study estimates that up to 92% of Chinese netizens use social media, meanwhile, only 76% of US netizens do the same.
China has an online population of 304 million people and is expected to reach 500 million in 2015 and an important piece of information is that some service challenges to the People’s Republic of China include the requirement of all computers to come equipped with Green Dam censoring software and a list of words and phrases banned from use.
While China’s constitution guarantees freedom of speech, the government employs a “subversion of state power” clause to punish those who are critical of it. Most notably this clause has been used against religious protestors like the Uighur; however, in this case the mentality of blocking dissenters can also be carried over to major social networking sites like Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and Bing. Nevertheless, censorship in China is not new and it certainly isn’t only a product of the Communist government.
In the 1200’s Chinese painters used symbols of plants and animals to express their distaste for the government. For instance, the water lily came to symbolize pureness of heart because even in the murky waters of their foreign oppressors, the Chinese people would thrive and survive. If the Chinese really are “more likely to share information broadly”, is it possible that under all this effort to stifle them, there are still water lilies in their midst?
By the way, I think that freedom of speech is very important and that China do not have to ban pages like Facebook, Twitter or Youtube. So, what can you do if you are in China and you need to access Facebook? (remember the slogan of Facebook: “Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life”.)
Just go to www.access-any-website.com
First_Things you will need:
- A Windows machine or have Windows installed on a Mac, hackintosh works too!
- An internet connection
- Internet Explorer
- Step 1
From Windows open up that hopeless program Microsoft calls a browser Internet Explorer and head over to:
Firefox and Safari won’t work, see Step 2 for why.
This is actually a premium Japanese VPN service but fortunately for us there is a free online version.
- Step 2
The reason you need I.E to open the above page is because the quick and easy set up relies on the use of a browser with Active X support.
If Active X is not enabled you’ll get a pop up at the top of the page asking you to enable it. Once Active X is on scroll down the page you you’ll come to a box that says;
“Start VPN connection”
Click on it and sit back as it installs the VPN client and connection settings.
- Step 3
Just chill and let it install. Once done you’ll find a new icon on the desk top and in the control bar at the bottom of windows:
- Step 4
If the client doesn’t automatically start click on the icon and press connect. This may take a few seconds, but once connected a balloon will pop saying something like:
“a new connection has been made”
- Step 5
Open your favourite browser and head over to Youtube, Facebook or Twitter. It might be a little slow and the connection can sometimes be hit and miss but you should now be able to connect 99.9% of the time!
When you close the client and reopen it again a window will pop up asking you to agree to the terms and conditions, click the ‘I agree’ to connect!
Now you can start enjoying all the advantages of Social Media (even from China).
- “A look at China and Social Media” Posted on May 11th, 2010. Retrieved on December 4th, 2010 at 18:00 from:
- “Despite Banning Twittwe, 92% of China Netizens use Social Media”. By Dana Oshiro on August 4, 2009 8:33 PM. Retrieved on December 4th,2010 18:30 PM from:
- “Acces Facebook, Youtube and Twitter in China for FREE!” Posted by Andi on March 28th, 2010. Retrieved on December 4th,2010 19:00 from:
- ” Social Media and China: It´s not what you think: Notes from SxSW” Posted by Jim Tobin on March 14, 2010. Retrieved on December 8th, 2010 20:00 from: