Thursday, December 08, 2005

A mirror of modern China...

"The reason for Baidu's success, they argue, is that it collaborates with the communist authorities on censoring sensitive political information more than its rivals do and is less stringent in blocking access to sites that offer pirate film and music downloads. Look for the name of dissident writer Lu Xiaobo or references to the Tiananmen Square massacre on Baidu and no information appears. But search for Radiohead or Britney Spears and Baidu offers a specific MP3 channel that directs you towards pirate downloads of every song the band and singer have ever made. The record company EMI successfully sued Baidu in Beijing this week over this MP3 service - which accounts for 20% of Baidu's traffic - but Li said his company would appeal.

In this respect, Baidu is very much a mirror of modern China: passive pirated entertainment is encouraged, politically sensitive information and criticism are heavily restricted."

From interview with Robin Li, founder of Chinese search engine Baidu in today's Guardian.

It is estimated that China will overtake the US in terms of GDP purchasing power parity before 2020 - source Martin Jacques


In China there are four million professional musicians, thirty-eight million children study the piano, and many new concert halls and opera houses are being built - source Knight Ridder

The international music trade body which tracks music copyright infringements globally estimates that 95% of music sales in China are illegal copies. Piracy is so entrenched in China that artists cannot fight it. Whereas the public consider taking solid items like watches, cars and shoes as theft , pilfering ideas, words or sounds is not regarded as a serious violation - source BBC article

Understanding China's position on censorship, the internet, and intellectual property piracy is important - the Guardian interview with Robin Li is a good starting point.

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