Today’s New York Times story on the state of Chinese Websites offers a stark reminder of how successfully the Internet satisifies our most base desires — and maybe of how powerful a force it can be even in the face of an oppressive government. It has been the half-joke/half-truth everyone used to kid about: That the Internet exists for sharing porn and everything else is simply an added benefit. In China the situation is even more strange, with the government censorsing terms such as “human rights,” but failing in its efforts to police the sites devoted to porn, gambling, or more shocking criminal activities.
But does the rapid proliferation of sites such as these suggest that the Chinese government won’t always be able to clamp down on other sites–such as those mentioning freedom and democracy? What does this mean for the growth of the Internet in China?