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China's Parallel Online Universe

sych Re:But it's not wrong when corporations do it! Rig (173 comments)

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.)

more than 2 years ago
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China's Parallel Online Universe

sych Re:But it's not wrong when corporations do it! Rig (173 comments)

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 Sina.com'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.

more than 2 years ago
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China's Parallel Online Universe

sych Re:And How Is It Better Outside of China? (173 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
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China's Parallel Online Universe

sych Re:And How Is It Better Outside of China? (173 comments)

Based on the grammar and spelling used, the OP is probably Chinese. So don't presume that just because he can't spell "climb" when he makes a literal translation of fan qiang, that he doesn't know a thing or two about the politics of his own country.

more than 2 years ago
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China's Parallel Online Universe

sych Re:But it's not wrong when corporations do it! Rig (173 comments)

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.

more than 2 years ago
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In the EU, Water Doesn't (Officially) Prevent Dehydration

sych Re:And in the US (815 comments)

Gravy on chips is common in Australia too. Not so much on fish-and-chips but it seems like a logical extension to me :)

more than 2 years ago
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China Begins To Extend High Speed Rail Across Asia

sych Re:China to lose even more money on high-speed rai (387 comments)

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 :)

more than 3 years ago
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Idle: Four Injured In iPad Fight At Beijing Apple Store

sych Re:Why? (194 comments)

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.

http://yfrog.com/gy4b8xaj --Scalpers hoard stock for sale
http://yfrog.com/gzisfwbj --Scalper selling stock

more than 3 years ago
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Wolfenstein Gets Ray Traced

sych So many (184 comments)

So... many... triangles!

more than 4 years ago
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AU National Broadband Network Signs $11 Billion Deal With Telstra

sych Re:I need it NOW (120 comments)

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.

more than 4 years ago
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The Status of Routing Reform — How Fragile is the Internet?

sych Re:Route filtering (139 comments)

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.

more than 4 years ago
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Google's New Approach For China Is To Serve From Hong Kong

sych Re:google.com.tw (295 comments)

Not exactly. There's more of a tradition of censoring websites from Taiwan, not as much of a precedent for doing it for websites from HK.

more than 4 years ago
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Google's New Approach For China Is To Serve From Hong Kong

sych Re:google.com.tw (295 comments)

Hong Kong also uses Traditional Chinese, and there are differences in word usages etc between HK written Chinese and mainland written Chinese.

Google have specially made a Simplified Chinese version and are hosting it out of google.com.hk, aimed at mainlanders. When you access google.com.hk from a browser that is configured to ask for pages in Simplified Chinese, google.com.hk delivers you that version.

It even says under the search box (in simplified Chinese), "Welcome to the new home of Google in China!".

more than 4 years ago
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Google's New Approach For China Is To Serve From Hong Kong

sych Re:Did I miss something? (295 comments)

I had a conversation with a Chinese friend once about censorship of anti-government sentiment in China, he agreed with me that there are a lot of things Chinese people don't like about their government. Guess what his number one gripe with the government was? "That I have to get a visa to go to Hong Kong! It's the same damn country!".

So you're right, I think feeling second class to Hong Kong is an issue for the mainlanders.

more than 4 years ago
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Tethering Is Exhilarating (With the Nexus One)

sych Re:Not Surprising (211 comments)

Ditto Australia. Works on carriers that haven't specifically asked Apple to turn it off, incredibly easy to set up and use, nice and fast.

more than 4 years ago
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Next Flash Version Will Support Private Browsing

sych Apostophe usage problem (192 comments)

"The world rolled its eyes when the problem of Flash cookies came to light several months ago.[...]"

There, fixed that for you.

more than 4 years ago

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