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Comment Re:But it's not wrong when corporations do it! Rig (Score 1) 173

Yes, I agree with you here too. For people who have government connections, the stakes are a bit higher so they'll probably be more careful. Also, having a higher profile probably means you're more likely to be monitored by a person.

I guess what I was trying to address was that your post seemed to imply (to me) that writing things online that offends a government official will almost certainly get you locked up. From what I can say, this is generally not the case (with a decent number of terrible exceptions, of course) and I think most of the filtering on Weibo is automatic, and even that which is seeming manually done has not resulted in any repercussions for anyone that I know who has had a post blocked or deleted.

(I am not an apologist for the Chinese government. I think in general the Chinese government is terrible. But it's important to see things objectively, so I write about what I personally observe in Beijing so that people might be better informed of the subtleties of the situation.)

Comment Re:But it's not wrong when corporations do it! Rig (Score 1) 173

Doing unapproved calisthenics outside Zhongnanhai definitely makes you big fish.

I don't think we disagree fundamentally. Ai Weiwei was obviously threatening enough that he had to be dealt with. But a bunch of random people sending Weibo can be left to the keyword filters and's team of moderators, and generally noone is gonna come a-knockin'.

The revolution came. Supposedly we're living in it. When the next one comes hopefully I'll no longer be here. But I hope it makes things better and not worse.

Comment Re:And How Is It Better Outside of China? (Score 1) 173

I really think it's such a shame, and such an insult to Chinese people, to say that they are not educated enough to be "ready" for democracy. Yet so many Chinese with good educations and well-paid jobs in the cities will say this.

I think China is ready. Democracy has been done successfully by the ROC in Taiwan, and by other eastern countries like Japan and South Korea even whilst they were still developing countries. Democracy, properly implemented, brings benefits like decreased corruption. The related benefits of a free society foster innovation and greater economic development. Endemic corruption and lack of innovation are two big issues that China is trying to fight today.

Sadly I think one of the reasons for the lack of enthusiasm for democracy amongst the comparatively well-off city people is that they fear what would happen to them if the poverty-stricken "peasants" who are imprisoned at the lower rungs of society by the two-tier household registration hukou system finally got some political power and were able to demand some equality. City folk and the government ruling class grow rich at the expense of the peasants who do not have equal access to education, housing, work and hospitals because of the two-tier hukou*.

Sadly this type of "class imprisonment" is what the CCP was supposed to be fighting against. But they themselves are now the class imprisoners and the new corrupt dynasty. Democracy is the remedy. But I suppose you (us) city folk are happy with our jobs and apartments & not willing to risk being overrun by the "peasants".

*The Chinese education system will teach you that other countries, including South Korea and Japan also implement hukou. It's not the same thing. South Korea abolished their system in 2008. Japan's system is a combined register of births, deaths and marriages. Neither systems restrict movement from place to place. I know of no Western country that implements a hukou system.

Comment Re:But it's not wrong when corporations do it! Rig (Score 4, Informative) 173

Hi from Beijing.

Generally, it's only big fish who get the lock-up treatment. If you say something anti-government most of the time you'll just get filtered out by an automated keyword block system and noone will care. It's only when you get to be in a position where a lot of people might pay attention to you that you'd attract "personal" treatment.

As an example, during the Egypt riots last year, a few of my friends were sending Weibo tweets drawing parallels between pictures of tanks in Cairo and events in/around Tian'anmen Square in 1989. None of them received visits from the authorities & their posts were either quietly keyword-blocked or deleted soon after they were posted.

For a counter example, look up Ai Weiwei. The main difference is that he's famous and he's been openly and actively anti-government for quite some time.

Ai Weiwei was a big fish. Me and my friends are little fish and are fairly unlikely to be disturbed & can continue to be openly critical as long as we don't get too much attention.

Comment Re:China to lose even more money on high-speed rai (Score 1) 387

They can send more than one train. Also, those numbers are for passengers seated in relative comfort. What if half the troops stand up? You can cram a lot more guys into those 8 carriages.

The soon-to-be-opened BeijingShanghai high-speed line will initially operate 43 trains in each direction per day in a mixed-speed configuration with peak headways of 5 minutes. In non-mixed-speed operation, the system is capable of less than 3-minute headways.

Your highways, roads, freight rail and airports all need vehicles, as does rail. Don't assume that the Chinese only have one train set, and don't think that they can't pack more than ~1000 troops into a train :)

Comment Re:Why? (Score 2) 194

It's not ordinary consumers who are buying these things. It's speculative scalpers.

There's a guy at the back exit of the store who has a stack of iPads. One of his friends (or possibly a student he's hired for a rumoured ~$2/hour) lines up at the front, goes in, buys two iPads, and drops it to the guy at the back who adds it to his pile. At about 1pm on Friday (first day of sale) I estimate this guy had at least 30 stacked up in two neat piles. His friends/hires then go back to the front, queue up again, buys another two and drops them to him at the back door.

It's not just one guy, however, there are dozens of people around Sanlitun Village (the shopping centre in Beijing that houses the Apple store) with stacks of iPads and white iPhones trying to flog them off at a higher price than the Apple Store. They've probably got their stock in the way that I've described above; and of course they only have a market if either a) Apple is out of stock or b) Noone can get into the Apple Store.

So the reason for all the queuing is not that the iPad2 is ridiculously popular with ordinary consumers; it's that it's ridiculously popular with scalpers who are trying to buy up all the stock, prevent people from buying it from Apple, and make people buy it from them instead at an inflated price. --Scalpers hoard stock for sale --Scalper selling stock

Comment Re:I need it NOW (Score 2) 120

The National Broadband Network (NBN) is a Layer-2 wholesale network; your IP carriage (or whatever else is run over the fibre) is provided by your retailer, who buy access to the layer 2 wholesale network from NBN Co., the government-owned company that is building and administering the network.

I would think that litigation for copyright violations etc would then be more likely to fall on the retailer, who has a direct relationship with the end user; as the wholesaler, NBN Co. does not.

Comment Re:Route filtering (Score 2, Interesting) 139

What about ISPs whose customers bring their own portable IP address space along with them, and then multi-home? (i.e. have two or more ISPs, and request BGP peering with both?)

The directly-connected ISPs can do their checks to make sure that their customer owns that IP address and adjust their filters accordingly... but anybody else with BGP peering to these ISPs (i.e. other ISPs) can only hope and pray that their peers are doing the right thing. Blind faith might not be good enough.

As I understand it, SBGP would implement PKI and digital signatures to ensure that only someone who actually *owns* a particular netblock/ASN can advertise a route for it.

Currently, anyone can advertise pretty much anything and it's only individual ISPs filtering settings that would prevent it getting propagated.

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