REAL TIME TRANSCRIPT: Emerging Issues
Hong Kong IGF
9:30-11:30, Friday 18 June 2010
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>> : Welcome back to the second day of the Hong Kong
Internet Governance Forum.
The theme of the forum is building vibrant
communities, realising internet possibilities.
The hosting organisation of the forum includes
APNIC, APTLD, DotAsia Organisation, Freedom House, the
Hong Kong Council of Social Service, The Hong Kong
Federation of Youth Groups, the Hong Kong Internet
Registration Corporation Ltd, Hong Kong Representative
of the Multistakeholder Advisor Group of the IGF,
Internet Professional Association, iProA, Internet
Society Hong Kong, NetMission and Office of the
Honourable Samson Tam, Legislative Councillor of
information technology all functional constituent sir.
Also, we would like to thank our adviser, office of
the Government Chief Information Officer to help enable
this event to happen.
To make this event successful, we would like to
thank our sponsor for their kind support, including our
grand sponsor Microsoft and am nick, Cyberport,
Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd, our
community sponsor, APTLD, impact, Japan registry
services and Singapore Internet Research Centre.
Today, there is simultaneous interpretation into
Mandarin, Cantonese, English available throughout the
Please feel free to get a headset from the counter,
because our speaker may conduct the session in Cantonese
or English or Mandarin.
So you may get it as soon as possible.
Besides, there is sign language available for us
Now, may we proceed to the first session of the day,
which is about the emerging issues of the internet. May
I now invite Mr Charles Mok, chairman of the Internet
Society Hong Kong, to start the session for us.
>> Charles Mok: Welcome back.
Thank you for coming to our last day of the Asian
Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum on a Friday.
I also want to take this opportunity to welcome our
panellists. Today, the topic that we’re going to
discuss in this session is going to be emerging issues.
When we were thinking about the agenda for the IGF,
we are seeing that internationally, the so-called —
a number of so-called emerging issues are becoming more
Among these issues, typically, a lot of times,
particularly, for example, because of the impact of the
web 2.0, because of the impact of the social media and
so on, a lot of these issues are becoming very
important, but somehow we, in the IGF context, many
people feel that there needs to be — this needs to be
separated or highlighted in itself as a topic of
discussion, in addition to the ones that we have been
talking about in the previous days, like critical
internet resources, like security, privacy, openness,
access, diversity and so on.
Today, I’m very happy that in our local Hong Kong
conference, we are able to gather a number of local and
regional players in the emerging issues facing us and
particular content and content in the web 2.0 social
media environment, in particular, how are people using
the internet to further their civic engagement.
That is the area that we are trying to approach
There might be a number of different policy areas
that will be touched upon during the process, during
this discussion, including freedom of expression,
intellectual property and so on.
Today, we have a number of speakers from Hong Kong,
mainland China and Taiwan and the US, but of course
Peter is also from Hong Kong.
We are hopefully going to be able to look at these
from a local, regional or China perspective, as well as
an international perspective.
The order of speakers that I have tried to arrange
is that we’ll try to have our local Hong Kong speaker
speak first and then we move on to China and Taiwan and
then finally, a more international and overall
perspective from Peter Yu.
Let me introduce our speakers to you in the order
that they will be speaking.
First of all, Oiwan Lam, she is the north-east Asia
editor of Global Voices On-Line and the editor of
inmedia.net that many of you are probably familiar with
inside of Hong Kong.
The second speaker will be Isaac Mao on the far
Issac is not only a very famous blogger in China,
also an early internet entrepreneur, he is also now
a fellow of the Berkman Centre of the internet in
After Issac, we are very happy to have Sherman So.
Sherman used to be a technology journalist with South
China Morning Post, but she has recently written a very
famous, very well received book on the internet in
China, called Red Wired. Sherman will also be talking
to us after Issac.
After that, we will have a perspective from Taiwan.
Eric Lee, who is the senior Project Manager in the DITI
of the Research Centre for IT Innovation of Academia
Sinica. He is also very active in the open source
movement in Taiwan.
He will be speaking to us in the Taiwan context.
Finally, again, Prof Peter Yu, who is the Director
of Intellectual Property Law Centre of Drake University
Law School in the US.
Let us welcome all our panellists.
To start off, let me turn the microphone over to
Oiwan and maybe you can tell us what language you would
like to speak in, in case they need to get their
>> Oiwan Lam: I will talk in Cantonese.
Today my topic is local and overseas or the
information flow and the people also at the media, what
is their contribution. Why they need to encourage this
kind of information flow.
Before I answer this question, why some people or
the media needs to have local and global information
First of all, we have to understand why the network,
first of all, before we understand, we believe that
internet can encourage the abundance of communication,
but what we have seen right now, in different location
or regions, we have the same language, even China,
Taiwan and Hong Kong, the internet — there is
a boundary. Because it’s due to our culture and
We have two examples here.
These are two — internet in China, they are hosted
in Hong Kong or Hainan island, but you can see here,
within China’s traffic range, this is RSA, it is very
high, it is over 3,000. The other internet
inmediahk.net, it is in Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, it is
about 944. In Taiwan, it is over 20,000. In China, it
is over 300,000. Both internet, they are using Chinese,
both internet, one is in China and one is in Hong Kong,
which is very close, but in 1510, they have a lot of —
they work in Hong Kong, but the issues they are talking
about is in China.
But most of the readers are from Hong Kong and so
you can see this is the media is Hong Kong, 1510 is
mainly for the mainland China.
But you can see this is on 16 June, both headlines
from both websites. 1510, there are a lot of articles
of discussion and talk about rich and poor and youth
problem and China’s history overall.
In Hong Kong side, they are talking about the
discussion and some of the questions about after the
As you can see, there is a lot of topics that can be
discussed together, maybe the youth problem or youth
issues or the democratic movement from the sun how
revolution until now, there is a lot to see. Especially
in Hong Kong, you can see is one country or ever remarks
err our moving should be interlinked and we cannot be
separated from China from this way, but our readers are
separated and our issues cannot be merged together, even
though economically or politically, we are very close.
But in the whole society or in the civil level, we
are very apart or we are with boundaries. But with the
whole social movement or topics or some innovation, we
cannot be able to have an integration.
Another topic that we have to manage is we have to
get a closer look when we go into a medium, do we have
enough information? Do we understand the mainland
China, because we have to get this kind of knowledge
through the media, like TV or newspaper. Is this
mainstream media? Are they that helpful? In this map,
you can see these are some segments of media attention
Every day, within that website, they will show
a chart within that day, the media, what is their main
issue they will play their concern.
You can see in red for China, but in Africa, not too
many people have their attention on it.
You can see the media will in different regions,
they will pay much attention to it, but for something
equally important, they will simply not have much
attention on that.
This is for Taiwan.
This is a map from Taiwan. This is a very funny one
and a very interesting one and a it can show how
Taiwan’s mainstream media, how they are going to do some
bias to make some fun.
For example, China they manufacture poison or
political or very dirty things. For Africa is always
desert and Canada is heaven for the gay people,
That’s why the mainstream media, they gave it like
a map, they projected in a way like this.
Even in Hong Kong, maybe they can be able to make
thing like that, but for Hong Kong people, they may have
the same objective towards what manufactured from China,
but a lot of topics we did not touch.
In another example, we are talking about the suicide
issue of the FoxConn, when we have to see is framework
is sweetshop, is problem for labour.
So they ignore a lot of other issues.
One day, I read something. I was born — somebody
interview a person who is a post-80s local worker. He
work in Honda, as well as FoxConn and he told some
story. It was in the 1980s, when he’s born. As the
person, he entered the factory and what kind of
difficulty he’s facing.
Besides, it’s a kind of abusing of his soul, not
only his body. He has a lot of other love and sex
problem and a lot of the girls he like and then he saw
all these girls become the lovers of the management team
from Taiwan, the girls ran away from him, because most
of the suicide in the 12 cases, most of them related to
this love affair.
There is a lot of uneven levels, because also
because of the genius and they cannot be very forced and
don’t have the balance and from these are some
grassroots stories, you can see there are a lot of
reasons that you have to understand what kind of
problems is existing.
>From this grass root information, this is very
important for us, how we are going to handle, understand
these kind of issues.
In the focus related from China, Taiwan, because
FoxConn is from Taiwan, China is also — also for
Hong Kong, because Hong Kong, there is Hong Kong people
has a lot of investment in China, so these are very
That’s why we will see we need to conduct a grass
root information bridging.
That’s why we have to focus on this issue and then
what right now we should take a closer look.
What kind of, some of these grass root people trying
to do information bridging. One of them is Twitter.
Twitter is some spontaneous, they are very — there are
some people who have — they would like to transport
their information. They will provide this information
they would like to pass on. These people will retreat
You can see the recruit page. You will know what
kind of information that people think are important.
There are some individuals that think these are
information that they think is very important, so the
message will get very frequent reading.
So a lot of people use Twitter or media will collect
their local or grass root informations from Twitter and
then they are going to express them in the global media.
In Twitter is a very spontaneous trial and some of
them are very organised. For example, the bridge
blogger in China, there’s a similar bridge blogger.
This is one is called the angry Chinese blogger. They
are pinpointing to mainstream media overseas. They are
going to pin point what they think they are not correct,
In the recent months, one is called Cochina, there
is volunteers, regularly they will organise some forums
and they are going to express it through Twitter or
internet to have it informed in China in realtime.
But for the Chinese readers, they only can be seen
through the internet, but this kind of bridging helps
the mainland Chinese to form a more internet civil
society. Once they see or they are reading or they are
paying comments on their page on the internet, these can
encourage their discussing atmosphere in what — there
is another very important 1617. We can see people,
a lot of people in China watch for the debate instead of
Hong Kong, but because in mainland China, they don’t
know or understand Cantonese, so they read it through
Chinese characters in text. So they understand much
better of what is the issue.
Some of the Hong Kong issues, they can pass it to
mainland China and help the mainland Chinese development
in the civil level.
Then the third example is Dalai Lama, which is
broadcast through the Google media.
Officially, the Dalai Lama cannot discuss with the
mainland Chinese Government that discuss through the
One is NGO affiliates. Global voice on-line is very
special organisation. Some of the local grass root
information, they try to translate it into English and
show it to the global readers. Now they develop into
a very huge volunteer organisation.
They not only to English, all the things is
translated into 17 different languages and in the
future, in different countries, they might try to create
their own local information and then they will translate
it back into English.
This process, how is one English website and then
develop into hundreds of volunteers participated of
organisation. Because there’s no support and there’s no
funding. Because only people think it’s necessary and
they just come and because it’s very spontaneous and
it’s very needed by the local people, because the whole
community, the development is getting larger and larger.
There’s no funding to support. Everything is done
by volunteers and and this funding and support is one
issue. Why people are so encouraged to do kind of media
bridges, because you can see this is a necessity.
There’s a big need for that.
Recently, for the past six months, Global Voice has
tried to cooperate with New York Times, some mainstream
media, they use some of the English issues, columns on
this information bringing on the mainstream media, which
have another impact to the mainstream media as well.
In the whole presentation, I’m trying to tell from
the grassroots, they generated some information bridging
and how important they are and how they give their
impact. They come to understand our local community as
well as for the global society.
>> Charles Mok: Let’s get a little bit more of a China
Issac Mao was here and give us actually on the
second day of our conference, he also gave us a — he
was also involved in the Asian Pacific part of our round
table and now we are happy to have him back in the local
>> Isaac Mao: Actually, it’s the second time I’m trying to
talk about the internet governance model, but I would
like to add more China elements today, because when
I talk to people engaged in internet governance, I would
like to say more about the models, how to engage both
grassroots and the governments in the same platform.
We always have a lot of discussions between
governments on internet governance in these years, but
few challenges we can see those grassroots really
engaged in the dialogues and the conversations to try to
improve the governance quality with the policymakers.
So it’s not very high quality model, in my mind.
Today, in spite of those governance model, I would
love to mention more the recent updates in China
Let me show you two cases. First, just last night,
I went to the Hong Kong parliament. I joined the
post-80s activities, but just as an observer. I saw
But at the same time, I used this application to see
how many people are trying to join together on line,
just like Oiwan, many people spontaneously join many
on-line activities, not by going to the same maybe
discussion group, but also, you know, using the same
hash tag or just talk by themselves, they can see the
group power from our society.
So it’s not like traditional internet model,
a centralised activity, a centralised website or portal
website you can join.
Instead, you can see this application. Actually,
I get data from Twitter sphere. You can use the same
tag to show how many people are participating or sharing
the same sentiment.
I see a big amount of people were talking about
yesterday’s debate, TV debate.
But actually, many Chinese people, they are using
this tag — I will switch to another tag. It is called
GFW. Many people know that, right? It is called great
When you talk about Great Firewall, you can imagine
that all the Chinese people are in a cage of internet.
It’s not the real internet, because more than 7,000
criteria were put into this censorship system. You
cannot access Youtube. You cannot access Twitter,
Facebook, et cetera, within China, wherever you are, in
a hotel, in school, in your home, so you can never
really access those websites without a proxy services.
But more and more people, they are now aware of the
censorship, the existence of the censorship system, so
they are trying to find ways to bypass it, so-called
scaling the wall.
Before 2008, there are no more than 2 per cent of
Chinese internet users know the term, because they don’t
care about it. They said that I have a lot of
information to access. It’s overload already. I can
access Sina, I can access QQ, et cetera, but after 2008,
in the past two years, we see so many new criteria were
put into Great Firewall system.
So many, many websites, you never know what’s the
reason it was blocked by the Great Firewall system,
because you have no channel to complain. That’s a black
box. It’s a system you can never complain.
That’s my argument, that why the internet governance
should be a model like this.
We need internet users to have their position in
this internet governance model, but as you see, the
government, I didn’t put outside of internet users and
businesses. We would love to get them into the
landscape of internet users. They always say that you
internet users, blah, blah, blah, but they didn’t think
that themselves are also internet users.
That’s the problem.
So we should try to get this kinds of model to be
deployed all around the world, to all the governments,
all the internet users.
The internet users should have their own ways to try
to push this kind of model to be deployed.
The second case I want to show is foursquare, which
was blocked just in June 4th, several days ago.
Why? Because foursquare, it’s a location based
service and many people check in foursquare on June 4th
to Tiananmen Square and it’s virtually check in.
When you use your mobile phone to check in
foursquare, it indicates how many people are there are
checking in the same time with you.
So just on June 4th, when you check in Tiananmen
Square, you found that you were blocked in China and
this kind of event, even driven blockage happen every
We can see almost 10 to 20 websites or criterias
were pit into Great Firewall system.
Day by day, you can see so many websites cannot be
accessed in China.
But will this situation last forever? How much
extent we can see in the next few years about the
censorship system, versus the internet users
confrontations, like the what you see on-line.
Although Twitter is blocked in China, many users are
now using VPN or on-line proxy or third party clients to
access Twitter in China. The number is increasing
dramatically. In the one year, after Twitter were
Why? Because Twitter is so easy to transfer
information and relay information.
I myself is the inventor of RT, you know, the
short-term for retreat. It’s very powerful, because
when you see someone is talking about something in 140
characters, you can just put RT in front of this and
publish within your Twitter timeline.
Your friends, your network, will see this message
quickly, in minutes, and then this is kind of relayed
methodology can show power all around the world.
So Twitter is now becoming a really powerful tool in
China, especially for grassroots. So there are also
copycats in China, like Sina microblogging, 6 million,
are now using Sina microblogger. But I think Twitter is
still the first-hand message from Chinese internet
sphere, because many realtime accidents were mentioned
on Twitter, then back to China based microblogging
services, because there are a lot of self censorship
there and more than 300 people in Sina now are
monitoring microblogging services and try to remove any
Another term called sensitive key words in China
Wherever you visit website, you can see, if you
publish something there, you may see some warning
messages told you that there are many sensitive key
words in your post. So your post cannot be published.
Even you publish, you may get message to notify you,
your post was removed, because there are many sensitive
This case, you can imagine that sensitive key words
will be everywhere, because June 4th is a sensitive key
word, but 60-40, the number is also sensitive key word,
because many people invented different variations to
describe June 4th.
So the sensors have to define the sensitive key
words as a set of criteria. June 4th, 6.4, you know,
whatever. Many internet users in China, they also
invented May 35, you know, they don’t say June 4th
instead they use May 35.
But however, these terms also, once the sensors
realise that, if you put into the sensitive key words
list, again, you know, so you can see that the increase
of the sensitive key word.
That cause me to think about the censorship model in
Because before, I use the first model, Tom and Jerry
model, because the sensor is Tom, definitely, and we,
internet users, are the Gerry. We try to use different
ways to express ourselves and the data, you know, trying
to chase us and then we found many other ways to escape.
After that, there is another theory called cute cat
in our internet is also invented by my colleague in
Berkman Centre. He said that if we put more
entertainment or lifestyle content on-line, like user
generated content, the sensors will be harder to find
Not only those Jerries, they found their ways to
escape, but also they publish more like cute cats
content. So that the Tom cannot easily find the target.
That’s something happened in the past five years in
China, definitely, because I found that there are almost
124 times of content volume increase from 2002 to 2008.
Although the sensors put efforts on censorship part,
just like mentioned, the internet user still use
different ways to express themselves.
Then in these two years from 2008, 2009, because the
increase list of sensitive key words, we see another
effect emerge, called dog chasing tail.
I called it because I seeing dos, you know, some
dogs chasing their own tails and by himself, but he may
not realise it’s his own tail, because he just thought
that it’s a toy, whatever.
The faster he runs to chase the tail, the faster the
tail runs, definitely, because it’s part of his body.
We see many, many funny things happened in the past
two years, because the increase of sensitive key words.
Because of June 4th, some engineers found that pie on
this, a soft programming language cannot be accessed.
Why? Because one of the pie on this’ library upgrade to
version 6.4. So it’s a tail. The sensor, they didn’t
really — it’s not Jerry, because it’s definitely
something not really sensitive, but the sensor, because
they try to sensor everything they don’t like, including
those several censorship, they want to satisfy the
government, so they do more, I mean, tougher censorship
over their users. So they bite themselves. Because
they don’t distinguish what is the real content they
want to sensor. They cannot.
We can see many things happened ridiculous recently,
like one of the universities bulletin board to recruit
those doctoral applications. One of the requirements is
called (Chinese spoken). But after push lishing the
word became (Chinese spoken).
So it becomes, you have to support the leadership of
sensitive key words. So it means that almost all those
normal content, once the censorship becomes ridiculous,
the real word becomes ridiculous, at the same time. So
the dog bite itself.
About 10 days ago, QQ users in China, because there
are millions of Twitter users in China, some people
found they cannot chat with a certain city name in
China. They asked Twitter why, QQ why. QQ service told
them that because it is part of our leader’s name, he is
the top sensor of China, his propaganda department, the
chief of the propaganda department.
So you can see that the sensor, they never really
want to sensor themselves, but as they invent the
censorship system, they never limited and show
transparent criteria about censorship. So they bite
We can see that the paradox will increase. I will
show the last slide.
Before 2008, we see that the censorship system, they
have quick increase in China, because of the heavy
investment on that. We know that many human resources
and technical facilities invested over, over billions of
R&D invest in the back-end to try to filter any bit of
the key word, of the traffic on-line.
After 2008, we see that a big boost about
censorship, because more internet users and domain names
were put into the blacklist and more sensitive key words
were put into the business service providers, so they
several censor a lot.
But from my prediction, with more diversified
internet tools and software services, maybe hundreds of
foursquares will emerge in the next several years.
People have multiple choices, they can use different
devices, iPad, iPhone and mobile phones, et cetera. So
they can generate much more content than before.
>From 2002 to 2008, we see 124 times of content
increasing. But in another six years, we see another
maybe over 100 times of content increasing.
However, the censorship system itself, because of
what we are seeing. They cannot sustain their increase
at the same time with the internet users, the content
So I see that they will face a big challenge from
the internet users in China, even in China.
So I see that maybe after 2013, or roughly 2014,
I think the censorship system will totally useless,
So that’s my prediction, we can see. Because it’s
not some once invention can be defeated, it’s something
that came from cloud because the internet users form all
kinds of cloud, like the what was just mentioned.
I believe more international efforts could help to
reach this crossing point, the tipping point as well.
>> Charles Mok: Let’s turn now to Sherman. Sherman is the
writer, the co-author of Red Wired, a recent book on the
internet impact in China.
>> Sherman So: Today I want to talk about China internet.
I think a lot of business people, a lot of people just
would see it as a big opportunity.
But I’m also going to tell you it’s even bigger
challenge for a lot of guys and especially for
foreigner, China internet, it might look really sexy,
billions of dollars is there and there is millions and
millions of users, but is that a real opportunity for
especially the foreigner?
I think a lot of people have seen charts like that.
So by this year, I think we are at about 400 million
internet user in China and that is about 30 per cent of
the internet population.
In the coming few years, they can pass to
40 per cent or even 50 per cent.
If we can count down what is the top 10 internet
companies in China, we can see that the biggest one is
Tencent and they are making maybe US$1.8 billion in
revenue last year and their market cap is something like
The next one would be Shanda. They are the top
on-line game provider. Baidu, the top search engine
provider. Alibaba, their business is e-commerce. And
Taobao would be the largest on-line auction market but
right now because it is not listed, so we don’t know its
revenue or income, but it definitely is of the size of
Then we see Netease, also a game player and then
Sohu, they are one of the largest portals, plus an
on-line game player. Sina is the largest portal.
Perfect World is another on-line game. Ctrip is the
largest on-line travel provider.
Even for Ctrip, their market cap is something like
6 billion right now.
Let’s talk about Tencent. What they do. Tencent,
I think my speaker next to me, they are the largest
instant messaging platform in China.
It’s called QQ. They got maybe 78 per cent of the
market share in terms of how many people, internet user
was using it.
Today, their market cap is bigger than eBay or
Their user, the registered user is like 568 million.
That is the larger than the state internet population.
Also, they got 60 million paying their internet
service, 20 million something paying their mobile
service. So what we can see is a big opportunity. This
company is no longer small. They are bigger than eBay
What is the driving force behind that? I think it’s
young people looking for fun and friends. About
70 per cent of China internet population are actually
people younger than 30 years old. This is a chart of
their age distribution. You can see that 10 to 19 years
old is about 35 per cent and 20 to 39 is about 30
something per cent.
You know that China have this one child policy for
a long time. They actually, at this kind of age, are
looking for peer group. They are looking for support.
They are looking for friends. They don’t have it with
their own family. They are the single child.
Also, China does not have the recreation facility,
like sport facility, like basketball or football field
is nearby. If you have been to some secondary city in
China, they just are buildings and buildings. They are
either factory or homes and you can rarely see something
that let people run or you can play balls with friends.
Internet become their only way of getting
entertainment and actually it’s a low cost alternative,
because even you cannot afford a piece of computer at
your home, you cannot afford the broadband connection,
you can go to internet cafe and it’s only about 2RMB and
you can play for a whole hour.
If we look at the top 10 list again, we can see
a lot of them are actually on-line game provider.
Tencent, besides the QQ platform, they also run two of
the a most successful gaming in China and every game has
concurrent user, more than 1 million people. That means
more than 1 million people are playing at the same time.
Then Shanda is the biggest on-line game provider,
Perfect World, they are all on-line game providers.
But for foreigner, especially for foreigner, it’s
not that easy if you want to get to the China market,
although it seems to be really sexy.
First of all, they got strong players like Tencent
and that is the culture difference. Basically, the
expectation is very different. Also, there is lack of
infrastructure. We expect something like a credit card
payment, something like a good — if you are doing
e-commerce, do you have the delivery ready? Is people
ready? Finally is the government. I think any
foreigner, because the other issue we can gradually
understand, we can gradually — and the infrastructure
will improve eventually, but the Chinese Government’s
attitude, I think that is the one part that most
foreigners or foreign businessmen have really confused
Let’s look at the point about the strong local
competitor. Let’s look at a it Tsu bied by secondr to.
For the search engine and this is 2008, before Google
said they want to exit from China. At that time, Baidu
is already leading it two times. It got 60
something per cent market share, whereas Google is only
28. For on-line auction, Taobao got 80 per cent, more
than 8 a per cent and eBay is only 7 per cent. On-line
travel like Ctrip got 51 per cent, but e-Long, which is
controlled by eBay, speedia is only 11 per cent. The
same thing happen for instant messages, QQ got
77 per cent, whereas Microsoft Live Messenger only got
4 per cent, Skype, 3 per cent and on-line portal Sina
got 27 per cent, Sohu close to 20 per cent when Yahoo
only got 3 per cent.
The local competitor is, they know about the culture
issue, they know how to deal with the government and
they find way to overcome that infrastructure problem.
For example, like Ctrip, they are the largest
on-line travel provider. They know the credit card is
not ready, they know people doesn’t get on line to book
their trips, so what they are doing, they are sending
people to airport or the bus station. They provide them
with a card, a booklet with a number to call and if you
want to book a hotel in one of the cities, you just call
their hotline and it’s a 24 hour hotline and you just
tell them, I want to book a certain hotel. You don’t
even need to pay. You just go to that hotel and then
just say, I book with Ctrip and then the hotel will
check you in with the rate that is already agreed and
after you pay the hotel, the Ctrip will collect their
commission from the hotel.
So that is how they solve the infrastructure
But those things can be — if you eventually know
the trick, then you can do it. But I think for most
foreigners, the issue is the Chinese Government’s
attitude. I think that attitude was changing and is
changing to even become more and more conservative.
Initially, I mean, in the 2000, when the internet
just started, internet population was really low in
China. That’s less than 1 per cent of China internet
population is on-line.
At 1999, maybe 1 in 1,000 people, then maybe only 16
was getting on-line.
At that time, the government was thinking internet
is a good thing, it’s technology, it’s a form of
technology and we will encourage it.
At that time, the recollecting body is mainly the
ministry of information and MII. MII’s objective is to
increase network capacity, is to increase people using
the internet, because the regular telecom service, they
want more people to use the tell follow service, because
they just build the network.
At that time, it’s quite free. The censorship
problem is not that serious. The Great Firewall was not
As the internet population increase, right now, it’s
about 30 per cent of the population is on-line. So it’s
no longer a form of technology, it’s a form of media and
China government control that, the media tightly.
Right now, the regulating body is no longer MII or
the new conversion MIIT, they got SARFT. That means
state administration for radio and film and television.
There is the same body that regulate TV, your newspaper,
so they are seeing the same thing. So they apply the
same standard. If I’m regulating TV that way, I’m going
to regulate the internet the same way.
That’s why we are seeing this kind of government,
government intervention is getting stronger and stronger
And we got ministry of culture, they are going to
regulate those on-line game. GAPP is the general
administration for press and publication. Everyone is
in it and there will be more in the coming years.
Because internet is no longer just a technology,
just an invention. Now it’s a media and China
government really care about media control.
I bring two examples saying that how that affect
business, why business eventually exit from China and
part of the reason is this government control.
I think a lot of people know about eBay getting into
China in 2003 and then they basically exit from China in
the end of 2006.
How they get in the market. They buy the leading
player. At that time, the leading player got
80 per cent of the market share and it’s called Eachnet.
Then their competitor started a service called Taobao
and by the mid of 2005, the table is already turned.
Taobao got the dominant market share already, about
60 per cent, whereas eBay only about 30 per cent.
By the end of 2006, eBay basically exit from China
and they do it by folding its China operation with
a joint venture with Tom Online.
What is the real reason? Everyone is saying because
Taobao is free and eBay charges, that is why they lost
But the Eachnet founder said that is not really the
real reason. After he sell Eachnet to eBay, he stay on
with eBay for a year as a consultant. So he know what
is the case, what is exactly happening.
The real case is actually, eBay at that time moved
the platform from China to the US. So on the exact day
of the move, which is about October 2004, the traffic
drop by half and one of the reasons is the Great
Firewall of China.
They block everything that look like sensitive. So
something like a user name like Beijing 64, they would
bring down your whole server. It’s not just the guy,
Beijing 64, cannot access his account, it’s every other
user with the same server that maybe a few thousand of
same user using the same server would bring down,
because of this kind of sense sore ship.
Who create those name, like Beijing 64? That could
be very common, because, you know, if you are somebody
in Beijing and you type your name and the system will
assign you maybe take out this 64, this is a name.
So a lot of things like that happen.
Another thing is that the local competitor, Taobao,
there is rumour saying that they are the one who create
those names or product names that close to a sensitive
where that bring down your server.
So that is one reason. Of course, after they move
the platform, the development is also slow, because now
everybody have to be done in the headquarters and if you
want to change one word on the screen, they take nine
weeks to do it and if they want to increase one feature,
they might be taking nine months to do it.
All this reason making eBay basically crippled in
China. Then they exit, because they lost the market.
This year, they got another incident that is even
more sensational. Is that Google exit from China.
They don’t exit because they lose market share.
They actually have a good market share. So when they
enter China in 2005, their market share is about 20
something and then they have to, because Baidu was
really strong and they have to struggle. They have to
localise and so on, so the market share actually dropped
to 16 per cent in mid-2006.
But then it rebounds back to about 36 per cent in
But even then, Google choose to exit from China.
The reason is that they said in their announcement,
because they complain about hackers into gmail and this
gmail account belong to some activist, someone was
really active in the social event, democracy in China.
Also, about government censorship, about they have
to screen all those sensitive words from their search
engine, if they have to put the search engine in China.
What is the choice? In March this year, they choose
to close Google.cn and they choose to diverse all the
China traffic back to Hong Kong, where they can provide
a free on in censored search engine. If China want to
block any of those traffic, they can block that.
I have been in China for the last two months.
I have been using Google.com .hk. I find the service is
really smooth. It’s as fast as before. But I didn’t
search anything sensitive, but my friend was telling me
that he run a search engine marketing firm. He’s saying
that Google, the budget spent on Google search engine
was decreasing. So before the crisis, he’s spending
maybe 70 per cent of his budget, his client’s budgets,
on Baidu and 30 per cent on Google.
But right now, this moment it’s about 77 per cent on
Baidu and only about 23 per cent on Google. He foresee
eventually maybe the Google budget will decrease to
15 per cent, because Google choose to exit from China.
Somebody was searching them with sensitive key words
and that will bring down the server and the service for
So that is hurting their business.
The point is why Google choose to exit from China,
even when they have a booming business. The government
One of their former staff were telling me,
government relationship has always been a problem for
them. They always find it difficult to work with the
Chinese Government. If you have been to China, you will
see that. Because they seem to always changing the
rules. When in Hong Kong or the US, we see law as
a given fact, so everyone just stick to one set of
In China, the rules seem to be kind of flexible.
Also it’s changing. It seems to be this year, something
is OK, something is correct. But next year, they are
saying that, well, we find out a new situation and
I want you to change it now.
Then you talk to them, saying that, but, we have
a law saying that this is OK, but then the Chinese
Government will say, but then I will change the law.
So I think a lot of people who have been with China
and deal with China government will find out that.
Also, Lee Kai, the CEO they hired just to head
Google China, he left just before the incident and
somebody was saying that he was somebody who can bridge
the gap. He can talk to the US headquarters and
convince them how to do business in China and he also
can talk to the China government about why the US
headquarter want to do, what’s the one who can media
between the two parties. He left just before the
incident. So maybe no one to mediate the situation, so
that’s why they have a decision to just leave China.
Also, localisation have always been an issue for
Google China. They have make some effort, something
like they know Google is difficult to spell for
a typical local Chinese, then they invent g.cn, which is
easy to spell or Google, they also go to promote their
service in the internet cafe, they buy directory site
called 265.com. But still not enough. Most people were
telling me that they are still not doing enough.
Something like they only have 20 agents, 20
something agents in China, when Baidu have 200.
Their hiring process was crippling too, because they
only want to hire somebody with a US degree who can work
in a US technology firm. But the point is, those people
may not know the Chinese culture well enough to develop
That is the end of my presentation.
>> Charles Mok: Let’s have our next speaker, Eric from
Taiwan, who will give us his presentation.
>> Ilya Eric Lee: Hello even here. This is really an honour
to be invited to Hong Kong Asian Pacific regional IGF.
This is my first time to Hong Kong, even though
Taiwan and Hong Kong is very close. Everything is so
new to me.
I would like to speak in Mandarin and to try to
transmit a little bit Taiwan-ness to bring it to here,
to share with you.
My internet friends call my Ilya Lee. Previously,
from 2004, I was seen from Taiwan E learning, my
specialty is digital learning. We wish to set up a kind
of — we want to use the internet to bring out some —
in my own position, in past years, past six years,
I have been involved in this programme.
There are two responsibilities. One is I try to
compare Korea and some bigger Asian regions and other
international cultural portals. We have an
international organisation called cultural model. It’s
kind of a federation, a cultural portal communities.
It’s how they cooperate with each other to meet the
My other responsibility is how to use web 2.0 to
outreach and engage more public, to have a more
In the past year, there is my job. I focus on web
We want to create a sort of globalisation and things
In today’s presentation, I want to show you some
phenomena, both local and global.
I want to show you that everybody is involved in the
programme we have been studying for the past few years.
I want to show you my slides. My title is open the
social media silos.
The new challenge for internet governance.
Social media has evolved as a centre and focus. It
has focused many people’s imaginations. Games you play
on Twitter and Facebook.
Because all the information has become sort of
central in these silos, so I wish to explore the impact.
Over the past few years, the number of users of
Facebook has increased tremendously and I think it’s
a global phenomenon.
That means like it’s a global phenomenon and the
number of users has been increasing tremendously and
it’s like a harvesting phenomena and has spawned a lot
of social movements, like a lot of companies who would
like to be involved in new enterprises, starting new
enterprises as well.
It looks like the service is kind of an internet
revolution and this is kind of revolutionary.
It’s a kind of revolution.
If things happen, if hero happens for the first
time, he looks like he’s a hero. But if a phenomena
happens repeatedly occur, the phenomena becomes
It’s the same paradox that applies to the so-called
invention. When it first came up, it was very popular,
but when it lasts for a period of time, it kind of dies
down. It has not become so fresh as it was before.
Activists like to use Facebook, this kind of media,
to appeal to its audience. Like Facebook, they would
like to have the same appeal to the world. Facebook,
when it first appears, it was presented image that, come
on, use the Facebook, use us, so you can express your
This year, we have a floral exhibition in Taiwan.
There were a couple of social movements recently and
they try to use Facebook and other similar media to
promote their campaigns and tries to encourage people
who were in silence, who were kept in silence, because
they were deprived of the media, to come up and express
themselves through the new media, like Facebook.
At the social campaigners, they did not used to have
a lot of opponents before but now, because of the
Facebook, they have different voices.
Now me, as a researcher, a practitioner in this
area, we have some reflections upon these social
movements, because I feel that our society is just
evolving and growing.
What kind of silos is that?
It’s a kind of deadlock situation, because for those
who can use, for Facebook users, they can communicate,
but for on in Facebook users, these two groups of people
cannot communicate with each other and it becomes
a deadlock and the digital divide is still real and
viable and there’s no breakthrough.
Now, it seems that they are all excluded. In the
past two years, we have a new term, when the social
media revolution is kind of hot spreading everywhere, it
is called participatory divide.
Perhaps because we don’t have a computer, then we
are deprived of any connection with the community.
So the level of participation is affected by your
access to a computer. So if you don’t have a computer,
then it’s more difficult for you to be connected and
that’s a challenge.
Apart from this, this year, March, the Facebook has
an exposure. They had someone saying their future plans
and strategy. They want to upgrade their connection to
a new level.
They want to upgrade their infrastructure system.
As Issac has mentioned, the difference and divergence
between virtual world and physical world is so real. So
what can Facebook do to connect the virtual and the
It seems that the disconnection has grown and it’s
just a distance, has grown apart.
What are the technical details?
This should be addressed. This disconnection or
distance should be addressed. This is kind of mat Rick
information and this condition can be very stressful.
What are the technical details that can be overcome.
For example, open standard. Now the challenge is
how to syndicate the different open standard media.
Now the stress upon the global consumers can be
quite diverse. Our social campaigners want to promote
themselves in Facebook, they want to deliver
information. But there might be limitations or
restrictions from the government.
It has become an issue.
We are moving from the open source paradigm. We are
moving from the open source paradigm to open media era.
As we want to develop openness, but it’s always
dominated by the technical experts and the technical
Now it seems that the design of a software has
dominated the level of openness. In the past, the level
of openness was dominated by the technical experts. Now
it has become a trap for humanity.
Now, as we are just followers, we became passive.
It is another challenge for the users.
Lastly, I want to say, as we talk about this silo,
it’s not already there. It seems that this
disconnection may evolve each time with a key note
speech by Apple or Facebook or Google.
I would like to frame this as democracy.
I would like to frame this as democracy.
We might need multilateral participation to create
We need grass root people. We need academia. We
need academic people. We need a variety of groups of
people, especially professionals, to redefine the future
of our country.
As we can see, these designers are the corporates
are the government, are the academic people. But can
they really define our future with the evolving media?
I think Taiwan is an interesting example. When
I was young, I really follow everything, every
regulation from the government. We always saying
government performs slower than the society. We are
still exploring. It’s part of evolving democracy. We
are experimenting democracy in that way.
Recently, in Taiwan, we are reflecting on how we
handle in disasters and catastrophes abound, like the
earthquake and how we can use, circulate information
through Twitter, Facebook, to mediate the government, to
help relieve the situation, in terms of natural
In Japan, when there is natural disaster, they are
selling machines, will automatically turn into a —
a machine that sells drin,. When is the proper time for
me to break the glass to reclaim those social immediate
ca things back to civil society?
To what level can we turn this design into an
empowering machine, in times of disaster.
I think as other speakers have mentioned, we need to
pay more attention to extreme situations, because we
need to redefine our new social values.
It’s through the extreme situations that we need
a platform to express our opinions, how things should be
redefined, how our society should be redefined.
So a platform was needed.
>> Charles Mok: Thank you. Finally, Peter Yu, professor
from the Drake University Law School, will give us his
perspective and then we’ll open the floor to all of you.
>> Peter Yu: Thank you, Charles. It’s great to be speaking
at home and it’s also very exciting that Hong Kong is
hosting the Regional Internet Governance Forum.
Let me start by offering an apology to the
I was supposed to come back here earlier for the
whole conference, but I was asked to testify on China on
Washington DC, so I cannot come back until last night.
So now me mind is between the US and also Hong Kong, but
I will try my best to share with you my thoughts about
the global issues.
I think one of the challenges in trying to
understand how we can link the different issues together
is to find some common grounds between the interest of
what is going on in other countries and what is happen
What I have done is to focus on a topic that I think
will be of interest to some of you here, but at the same
time it’s also a good example of how civil engagement
happens at the global level.
What I want to talk about is the new anti
counterfeiting trade agreement, the acronym is ACTA.
If you have not heard of this agreement, don’t worry
about it, because that agreement has been negotiated in
It’s an agreement that’s been negotiated by the
United States, European Community, Japan, Switzerland,
Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Korea, Singapore,
Morocco — don’t ask me why some of those countries are
there. Basically, what you get is a country club, so
those countries get together to negotiate on a country
The problem is what they are going to negotiate will
actually affect a lot of other countries who are not
I’m very excited that Hong Kong is not one of the
negotiating parties, because it will affect some of the
ongoing reforms in the intellectual property, especially
with respect to digital copyright. Hong Kong is not one
of the negotiating parties, but at the same time, what
is going on with ACTA may affect is not of other
countries. So it’s very important for us to find out
what happens with the agreement. The only problem is
that the agreement has been negotiated in secret, so
there’s no way to find out.
How can we find out?
The simple answer is use the internet. Who happened
is the draft of the agreement has been leaked to the
internet, through something like Wikileaks, through
a lot of other websites from the NGOs, a lot at of the
NGOs have been working with each other in trying to use
the Freedom of Information Act or Access to Information
Act in trying to get information from the government and
whatever they got, they just post it on the website and
they share it with others.
What is really interesting in terms of what they
have been doing is that you got different information
coming from different places, some in Germany, some in
the US, some in Canada, and you can piece all the
different information together in trying to understand
what is the real scope of the agreement, what are the
different negotiating terms or negligenting points
within the agreement.
What is also interesting from what we have heard
from other speakers is that it’s not only limited to
People have been using Facebook, people have been
using Youtube, they have been using a lot of different
social networking tools in trying to get people
organised, trying to coordinate the effort to fight
against ACTA and trying to provide information. If you
still have no idea what this agreement is about, go on
to Facebook, go on to Youtube and type it in and try to
find out more about what’s going on there.
You will find that there is a community build up in
trying to fight against this one, because they fear that
it’s going to affect a lot of people, especially those
So it is actually quite interesting phenomena of
what’s going on at the international level.
But there are five different things we can take from
this set of incidents.
The first one obviously is about civil engagement.
20 years ago, if something like this happened, it will
be very difficult to get the information or even 10
But today, it’s getting much more difficult for
government to actually stop providing information to the
What is really interesting about what happened here
is that the whole draft of the agreement has been leaked
onto the internet and a month later, the government of
all the negotiating parties agree to release their own
So you can see how the governments have been
pressured into releasing the information that actually
belongs to the public.
But what is really amazing with respect to what they
are releasing to the public is that the official version
is not as good as the leaked version. With the leaked
version, at least you got the different parties, you got
the different negotiating points, and the official
version, a lot of the disagreement have been taken out.
So it’s much more difficult for people to understand
what is the Japan’s position and what is the United
I think it’s quite interesting, because that will go
into the second lesson that we can get this in the
internet, you cannot offer an inferior official version.
That is basically the same mistake made by the music
industry. They offer a lot of the downloads that
actually are not as good as what people can get from
file sharing services.
If the negotiators and the governments cannot
understand this point, I wonder how effective they can
be in negotiating an agreement that can tackle these
That shows how difficult it is to deal with
challenges in the digital environment.
The third point I think is also quite important is
that it’s not just about the resistance from the public,
but also about a lot of the government officials who
actually do not have the information, whether it’s been
the US or the European Communities, or whether it’s in
those countries that are not involved in negotiating the
What’s really amazing to me is that a lot of the law
makers have been kept in the dark for the whole
negotiation, so you can find letters to the government,
you can find a lot of the postings on the website saying
that they want more information about this negotiation.
The whole discussion is no longer just about getting
information or about whether we are striking the right
balance in the intellectual property system, but more
You see a lot of law makers saying that we are not
going to wait for the government to tell us what is
going on here. We want to know because we are member of
We deserve to get the information.
So what they are getting information is actually
from a lot of the leaked documents and that is quite
interesting, because you now have a lot of public
officials trying to get information from what has been
leaked on the internet, rather from their own
So what is going on at the public level is not just
helping the resistance, but also helping those
government officials to get more information about
what’s going on with their own government.
So a lot of the things that we have been doing in
the public debate has implications just beyond what we
are trying to achieve here and I think that’s quite
The fourth thing I think is also quite important is
about the intellectual property industry mindset. One
of the reasons why they have kept the negotiation secret
is because they feared that the opponents would go in
and disrupt their negotiation process.
It’s very difficult to expect the counterfeiters or
the pirates to actually go into disrupt the negotiation
After all, the treaty is about anti counterfeiting.
The problem is that with respect to digital
environment, the public are the counterfeiters. The
public are the pirates. So one of the things they are
trying to keep from the public is to make sure that the
public will not have a voice, because those people are
likely to be against the treaty.
I think that makes it very difficult in digit
copyright reform in a lot of different places, including
Hong Kong, because the government is supposed to work
for the electorate, supposed to work for the people.
Yet, a lot of the industries see the electorate or
the people as the enemy or the of point. So how can you
reconcile this tension within the political process in
trying to understand how to deal with a lot of the
I think it’s going to be very difficult, because on
the one hand, I can see why the industry fear about
disruption from the public. On the other hand, I also
see why it is important for public to actually have
information, to actually participate in the debate.
The final thing I want to focus on is how a lot of
the discussion in ACTA actually reflect a lot of the
negotiation items that have been going on in the
corporate reform in Hong Kong.
If you look at a list of all those items that be
included in the internet chapter.
Criminal enforcement. Notice and take down
procedure. Facilitation of corporate lawsuit.
They are all in ACTA. But they have also mentioned
by the Hong Kong Government in the consultation
document. Some of them have been adopted. Some of them
will be rejected. But at the same time, you can see how
a lot of the developments start from a lot of developed
countries and migrate to other developing country as
well as emerging countries. I think that is very
important for us to understand what’s going on there.
Another point that is also related to what Issac and
also Sherman talk about in China is that in a lot of
countries with stronger information control, there is
a need for the public to use and to reuse and to
republic corporate content to make a message.
One of my biggest fears is that the more, the title
err the intellectual property laws are, the more
difficult it is for the public to have the communicative
space to reuse or repurpose a lot of those content.
I also fear that stronger intellectual property
rights for whatever good they will give, will actually
be used as a pretext to silence dissent.
I think that is something we need to look into.
A lot of times, we have a tendency to believe that
intellectual property issues are very technical, very
arcane, very legalese, but at the same time, you have
implications to not just about intellectual property
rights holders, but also to public, in terms of the
communication space they have and also how much they can
engage in civic debate.
I think that’s why it’s very important for us to pay
more attention about what’s going on. Hong Kong is
undergoing the copyright reform at the moment and trying
to figure out how to formulate the solutions in the bill
and I think that is the place we need to pay attention
Thank you very much.
>> Charles Mok: Thank you, Peter. We have heard a lot of
different views and I think it’s time to open it up for
your questions. I think you can make your comments or
make your questions in any of the three languages,
dialects that we are having the translation with today.
Feel free to give us your views.
No? Haven’t warmed up yet.
>> : Prof Yu, you gave a breakdown of the ACTA negotiations
and the premium letter their leaks. Of course, the full
agreement has in fact been published now, April 10, and
it is available to everybody. I think to say that it
was secret is not quite correct. The negotiations were
fairly clear that they were going on, but because it was
a draft, it was just never released until it was ready
and that was intended to be in fact in late 2009.
The agreement does in fact build upon existing trade
agreements, particularly the trips from WTO and on WIPO
itself. Many countries are involved, not just the ones
you mentioned, for example, Singapore is involved, and
also as you’re aware generally speaking at large
international agreements at this, China tends to be the
lead for Hong Kong, although Hong Kong does have the
ability to contribute towards such agreements.
The purpose of such agreements really are well
beyond what we are talking about today.
It’s really things like the global trade in elicit
pharmaceutical products which cause real damage and real
harm to civil society and people.
I think to kind of characterise ACTA as a secret
club and that Hong Kong benefits by not being involved,
is not really to the benefit of Hong Kong.
I absolutely agree that the criminalisation by naive
individuals, by young kids, for example, by downloads
should be avoided at all costs. We don’t want to create
a class of criminals. On the other hand, we do want to
create a class of people that do respect the creative
talentings of others, including most of the people in
this room, which have in fact created works for the
I think that the reward should be reaped by those
that do create, unless, of course, they decide to give
them away, which is their personal choice.
>> Peter Yu: Let me offer a quick response. I agree with
a lot of the things you say. What actually happens with
respect to secrecy is that a lot of people have seen
a draft, so the government officials who were involved
in the negotiation process, both from the European
commission and also from US TR, as well as governments
in other countries, those industries who are involved in
international trade add vie are you committees, they
have seen it. Those people from the NGOs who have
a need to know will be able to see the agreement after
they sign a non-disclosure agreement.
I would let the audience decide how you characterise
this as whether it is an open negotiation or whether it
is a secret negotiation or whether it is semi-secret
negotiation. I think it’s very difficult. I think from
consumer standpoint, if you are not invited by the
government to actually look at the draft and sign
a non-disclosure agreement, you will not be able to see
it, until it is ready.
The difficulty, though, is that the negotiating
parties are trying to finish up the negotiation by the
end of this year.
If the time for the draft to be ready is only a few
months before the completion of the agreement, what’s
the point of the debate? The whole agreement has
already been drafted. So basically, what you can
provide the input is basically, just a few comments
about whether you should go forward with it or you
should make some changes. I think that’s the difficulty
I have with the agreement in terms of transparency
With respect to your point about a lot of larger
trade issues, I think that’s true. It’s about
counterfeiting, about piracy, but I wish they stop
The problem is there’s a lengthy internet chapter
which is more extensive than what you can actually find
on other issues.
For counterfeiting, for piracy, nobody disagree with
that, but when you are talking about including the
graduate response system, including the notice and take
down procedure, providing statutory damages for internet
infringement, seconding internet users to jail, those
are the items that we don’t think is really related to
trade, really related to piracy or counterfeiting.
A final point, I’m glad you asked this question, is
that I’m not asking you guys to support piracy.
I spent a lot of time training intellectual property
lawyers. Intellectual property rights are very
important. What I’m saying is if we are going to
increase intellectual property protection, it’s very
important for us to increase the corresponding
safeguards. That will be like values, like the parody
exception, like limit of criminal enforcement to piracy
and counterfeiting and I think or maybe exceptions for
I think those are the things that are very
important. What we should not do is to say there are
a lot of consequences on internet users, so we should
not protect intellectual property rights. You are right
in terms of the fact there are a lot of people who are
creators, who depend on a strong system to be
So in order for us to strike the balance, we need to
provide safeguards, limitations, exceptions and
>> Edmon Chung: We talked about censorship and copyright
this morning. I just came to my mind that it seems when
Peter ended, that we talked about the issues, the sort
of correlation which brings me to a question to I guess
the panel. It seems that censorship and copyright used
to be that we have media companies on sort of our side
or the people’s side in terms of as a watchdog against
But in this particular fight, are we seeing the
media who are the big copyright owners actually fighting
against the people and how do you see that play out in
the internet world when censorship and copyright, if we
talk about like graduated response, that requires some
sort of censorship in a way and it’s very much related
to censorship. How do you see that play out in our,
I guess the people’s allies, who are the media
companies, who used to be our alloys and now potential
favouring a some sort of censorship on the internet.
>> Peter Yu: That is a very good question. I think one way
to look at the issue is to go back to history, to
understand that copyright started as a tool. It has
been used by the church. It has been used by the crown,
in order to deal with the printing press and all the
dissent and heresy that had been published by the
printing press. To some extent, the linkage is always
there. What is really interesting, in the next two
centuries or so, is that there is an emerging creative
and publishing sector that relies on copyright to
provide information that will be useful for the public.
But that has changed with respect to digital
environment. When now a lot of those users can create
information themselves, they can act as printer, they
can act as publisher, they act as distributor and that
actually disrupt some of the business interest or some
of the existing business models.
So you see sometimes there is tension between both
the corporate holders and both the users.
On top of that, we also see the interest of the
on-line service providers being aligned with the
corporate holders, because one, they now don’t want to
just provide the pipes, they want to actually get into
premium content, so they have to negotiate agreements
with both the content providers, and they also want to
have some type of discrimination between the type of
information they actually provide in terms of whether
they got for network neutrality or whether they actually
develop the different tier of service in light of that
So one of the things they need to pay attention to
is that the more they discriminate, the harder it is for
them to benefit from safe harbour, because it is very
difficult for them to say we discriminate, but we have
no knowledge about what’s going on there. If you are
going to discriminate, owe know what’s going on there,
you have knowledge and you lose the safe harbour and
that’s why you can see some of the interests have been
changing with respect to what’s going on there. So
I think it’s a very complicated issue, but ultimately,
I think it affects a lot of the consumers, embraces
issues about the cost and also the ability for the
on-line service providers, but I also want to leave it
to the other panellists to address some of the issues
you I mentioned.
>> Charles Mok: I want to, before that, I want to follow on
what Edmon has been saying and because what Edmon has
said made me think about and relating to some of the
things that particularly Sherman and Issac have talked
about. You know there are so many of these technology
companies, I don’t know whether they are internet
companies or they are media companies now, that Sherman
has been talking about, these Chinese companies.
The line between internet companies which are
originally we thought of them as technology companies,
the line between being a ek the nothing company and
being a media company has very much blurred all over the
world, including in China.
One thing that struck me recently, because until
very recently, the last several months, I have not been
really a contributor in any of these mainland within
site or social media or blog and so on until recently.
I have become a very, quite active user of Sina and
we have seen, along with many users in Hong Kong, within
the last, within this month, we are still in June, we
are seeing a lot of first-hand experience that Hong Kong
users never had before in facing immediate and very
efficient censorship inside of China.
A lot of Hong Kong users never face that before.
Because somehow, they started to use Sina, so a lot of
Hong Kong users until now have faced these issues
But on the other hand, I also open up a blog in the
mainland, in 1510 in China. Actually, I find that to be
a lot more open than I thought. Maybe they are an
exception, but I found them to be more open when
I thought when I posted messages about the political
situation in Hong Kong.
My question is also related to something that Issac
has been saying, I think Issac has been quite optimistic
in predicting, if I’m not wrong, that the content and
the users will win over censorship.
What would be the comment from the other panellists
on this sort of a prediction? I think it has a lot to
do with what Oiwan has mentioned from the beginning.
Let me give a few minutes or a minute to each of you
to give a final response and then because of time, we
will probably have to close this session and move onto
the next one.
>> Sherman So: About censorship, event will people
eventually win over censorship. I think it just take
time and just as Issac mention, how they censor the
network is using some kind of technology algorithm that
is why they make so much mistake. I think probably
people can just like, somehow can escape that
censorship, maybe there is something they did mind the
box or maybe just it was not as famous as Sina.
Another thing is besides this kind of technology,
driven censorship, China is also using just a police
work. They have direct connection with all the major
internet players in China.
That means Sina, Youku, Tudou and you can you
founder tell me how the China government actually do the
censorship on his own site. They need to get a licence
to offer video sharing service in China.
But in order to get the licence, they have to fulfil
certain kind of policy on censorship. How do you do the
For that, it took one year to negotiate with the
government. Basically, he has to show the government
that is how we monitor our posting, how we see some part
of them is technology driven, some part of them is
people, and if we see something that is sensitive, we
will take it down and only by assuring that they can get
Somebody didn’t assure the government enough, they
didn’t get the licence and the government basically
close it down.
The point is, once you get to a certain size in
China, the government start knocking on your door and
they want your cooperation.
Besize the technology, using algorithm to do the
censorship, they are also using this kind of business
relationship, because once you get to certain size, the
government will knock on your door.
One of the funny things is I think everyone has
heard of Tudou now, they may be the top video sharing
site in China.
In August, in 2008, May, there is a earthquake. The
government want the internet, all the internet providers
to tone down their entertainment. They want them to
show a black and white interface. They want no more
on-line game for three days.
How do they do that? Tudou tell me that they
actually receive a phone call from the government,
saying that we want you to put something up on your
website, saying that it’s mourning period.
A smaller website I know of, they offer on-line
game, they receive an email. That is how they organise
it. If you are big enough, you got a phone call. If
you are a little bit smaller than that, you got an
I think if you got even smaller, then they pay you
That is my answer.
>> Oiwan Lam: For 1510, they have a certain tricks, because
I talk to them. Their company is registered in
Guangzhou. Their server is in Hainan. Their DNS is
registered in Beijing. So there are three different
government departments looking after them. But they are
not coordinating with each other. So the owner, she can
play around. Like when she receive the phone call from
Beijing, then it takes time for the Beijing government
to go through the Guangzhou and then to her.
So if it is a very serious matter, then they will go
through all this complication.
But if it is something minor, then the government
department, they usually will skip it, because it’s too
complicated. You have to go through three departments
in order to crack it down.
So they get the space from all the tricks.
For the copyright and civic engagement issue in
China it’s very extreme.
Like sometimes copyright can be a kind of activism.
Recently the diary of Lee pang has been circulated in
China. Even it is not published, it is not printed in
Hong Kong. The copyright holding is in Hong Kong
Then there is another book, it is also written by
a Hong Kong writer. He actually give out the copyright.
He was circulating the version in China, mainland China,
saying that it’s OK for mainland Chinese to download the
book, because I don’t care about it. I want more people
to read about it.
But if copyright is being criminalised, then even
the writer is willing to give it out in China, but it’s
owned by a book company.
Then the Chinese Government can add on the issue as
a criminal case.
Even the writer is willing to give it out.
So the criminalisation of copyright had a very
serious problem and the China government is now more,
how do you say, they know how to play the game, they use
the international language for their censorship, like
the cracking down of pornographic material, they refer
it to the western practice and also the copyright case.
So if you criminalise the internet content, in the
past, usually when the book company feel that their
interest is being violated, when they will sue the
individual to get back their interest.
But in a criminal sized case, it becomes the
responsibility of the government to do the crackdown
action. Even if the writer, the owner of that copyright
product, they are willing to circulate it and because
the book is banned in China anyway, it won’t affect
their interest for Chinese people to download it, then
it becomes a criminal case in China.
>> Ilya Eric Lee: I think I have two stands in this kind of
First is I am an internationalism guy which means
that — let me complete the two roles I have.
First is the internationalism guy and second is the
technical optimistic and technical pessimistic guy at
the same time. Which means that I think the technology
is running fast forward and even moving faster toward
another new thing. So the way trying to control, to
bring it down to the, even though there is kind of
ground level for IPV6 or the kind of packet based kind
of censorship is a kind of clutching hands as the most
essential thing, but I do think if we go back to the
community level, to the local level, the hybrid form of
transmitting messages like engaging with the community
newsletter or to make it multiple accessible on the
various devises or mediums is a way to make creative
people to find a way to transmit their voices out.
At this point, I think I’m quite thinking if we have
enough international pipes, we provide much more
capacity for everyone to do their own engagement, then
this kind of top down, one way, one directional
censorship would be not — definitely not as effective
as 5 or 10 years ago and even will be declining in the
The other thing I think both Sherman and Oiwan all
mentioned details about, for instance, the licensing and
the change of licence and lack of coordination between
I think all these things we involve into the details
so from my side, from the technical part, I think the
technical things, the detail of technical thing is also
a way of detour or to create the alternative space, like
the people could use media to transmit message to each
I think besides social network, social media, mainly
we mention the tech based social media. The video based
social media will be booming with tools like flip and
other kind of ultra lightweight mobile device.
>From the internationalism and the technical
optimistic and also pessimistic part, I think we need to
get involved into the details of technology, then we
will find the space to make the prediction happen in
>> Isaac Mao: I just want to add some comments to my own
predictions, trying to explain it, not on pessimistic or
I just want to show people that the increase of
usages of new technologies and maybe new social norms,
social structures, could boost the structure of content
intelligence, what I call cloud intelligence, that could
defeat the traditional censorship mentality. It’s
a different paradigm fighting to each other.
So it’s not only just something about purely daily
censorship, others those censorship efforts, it’s
something like, it’s totally different paradigm we are
In my new coming book, maybe come out next spring,
called sharism, the mind revolution, I try to provoke
the human nature sharing back to our world. Because
every one of us are actually natural born sharing
people, but step by step, we were locked into different
cages in different context, cultural, religious and
business context, prevent us from sharing.
This kind of things are somewhere to being allowed
by some free cultural movements around the world, like
creative comments like we discuss in Seoul in Asia
creative comments conference.
We found that we are forming a new spectrum about
privacy, from privacy to publicity.
Actually, the traditional word separate us to the
two polarised positions. Either very private or very
But now we are forming a very profound social
selection. We have different options that people can
choose and everyone actually could become a small Wiki
leak website. You leak yourself, you leak your
surroundings. Then things can become very profound.
You see a very transparent world.
That’s not something only about China censorship
landscape, but also the global openness of culture and
knowledge, human knowledge.
>> Peter Yu: My answer is “yes” or “no” and I hope one of
them will be correct. Yes, for two different reasons.
Censorship standards will change according to the
concerns over stability and also you vary from
generalration to generation. So I suspect the
censorship today will be very different from the
censorship five years from now.
Is that an improvement? That is a question for us
The second point is censorship is only one of the
tools in a larger information control policy. There are
other tools to have information control.
For example, propaganda. So I suspect if censorship
is reduced, then might still be more propaganda and
ultimately the question is whether we are getting
information or not, but not whether they are using
censorship as a tool for information control or whether
they will using otherle toos.
The answer for no is everywhere you find censorship.
I can tell you when I was trying to learn more about the
Iraq war, I have to go outside the US newspapers and
television stations to find information. I use the
International Herald Tribune, I use the business times
from Singapore, but surprisingly, the articles there
provide me more information about what’s going on than
what I can find in the US. So I think that is something
that we cannot avoid with regards of where we are.
>> Charles Mok: Thank you and let us give a round of
applause to all our panellists.
>> : Now we will move onto the next session immediately.
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