The next speaker at AoIR 2010 is David Kurt Herold, who shifts our focus to China. ‘Online China’ represents a very large population now (at more than 400 million users), but is connected with the rest of the world through only 27 major connections. The Chinese Internet remains government-owned, too – China owns the network backbone, and government control over the Net is therefore the default setting. There is also substantially less content creation on the Chinese Net; Internet use is consumption-oriented, and operates largely through fairly old-fashioned major portals and BBSes. It is also a very violent place, with ‘human flesh search engines’ (RRSS) that enable users to search for and harass other users.
The Net has also been used for self-help purposes, though, through very similar mechanisms; the site 5-1-Zhao-Ren is a people search engine used to find long-lost friends and relatives, for example, or to otherwise highlight people who have performed positive actions in the past. Such sites have been used to highlight abuse and abductions – a group of 400 fathers whose kids had been abducted as child slaves for a factory posted an open letter about this, for example, and most of the kids were rescued in the end.