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Distinctive Characteristics of China’s Internet Compared to the US One
It is hard to deny that Internet is one of the most influential mass media, which currently exists in the world. But even being an international phenomenon, which impacts a generalization and unification of nations in cooperation and communication levels, it is necessary to mention that there is a number of peculiarities in Internet space in various countries. So to say, the important aspect worthy of consideration is the impact of current politics on the pattern of the freedom and freedom of speech in each country. Exactly this aspect plays key importance in the forming of the Internet as a platform. Analysing the question of differences in a political and social sense, it is apparent that the biggest difference relates to the political paradigm, which governs population in both countries. In a nutshell, restrictions, and limitations in the use of Internet resources, all along with the control of people via Internet, compose the key differences between Chinese and American Internet. The variations are possible to be found in almost every branch of Internet use, starting from E-commerce and up to freedom of speech. The political atmosphere is an essential variable that leads to the correspondent differences in both countries’ Internet use and other spheres, which refer to the Internet as a platform of commerce, business, entertainment, and communication.
Peculiarities and Differences on Internet of China and the US
The matter here is that it is easier to find differences on the Internet in the USA and China than to find common aspects. Even being a seemly resembling platform with the common spectrum of options, Internet in China significantly differs from the one that we used to have in the US. First of all, it is necessary to mention that before the description of the most important aspects, which affect differences in both countries in perspective the Internet usage, it is essential to define more general characteristics of the net concerning Chinese users and American ones. The aspect of population, who use Internet corresponds to the general number of people residing in both countries. In other words, if the population number in China higher than the general quantity of active users is higher, even if the Internet penetration is lower. So to say, according to statistical data, reported by Internet World Stats, the number of users in the US (87% of the population) is lower than in China, but together they compose 31% of all users worldwide. Concerning the Internet penetration, it is necessary to mention that American situation is better, as almost 50%, when China’s is much more lower.
Talking about the population, who uses the Internet on an everyday basis, it is worth mentioning its role as a source of information and as a platform for commerce. The Internet has for Chinese traders a critical importance as a mean, which helps to disseminate their products in almost every corner of our planet. This aspect predetermines the rising use of the Internet as a leading source of communication and commercial platform for both countries.
Governmental control and reflection of political situation on Internet use
So, as it was mentioned earlier, the importance of political atmosphere and some directions of the country’s development predetermine the attitude of government to the Internet, as one of the measures of communication and manifestation of freedom of speech. It comes as no surprise that political state of the US targets to the establishment of democracy and support of freedom. Regarding these aims, the government has changed the particular patterns of Internet control to the more loyal ones in terms of limitations of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). In his article Sanders mentioned that “The U.S. government finally handed over control of the world wide web’s “phonebook” to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) after almost 20 years of transition.” In other words, the situation with prohibition and restrictions on the use of the Internet, as a measure of free communication and other activities, slowly steps to the more loyal for residents of the USA. It is hard to say accurately is there any other means of control used by the government to Internet users, but the majority of official data claims that current Internet in the US is “independent” and free of outside control.
The opposite situation it is possible to mention regarding Internet use in China. The political structure of China belongs to the communist paradigm of governance, which eventually predetermines the attitude of the government and liberties of the population. In other words, the continual control and restrictions are in abundance in China. One of the most famous projects of Internet control is named “The Golden Shield Project” or “Great Firewall of China,” aimed at restriction and control of people. McClellan mentioned that “Authorities have closed some video and audio streaming websites, limited online access to foreign and “foreign-inspired” television programs, stiffened penalties for “spreading rumor” via social media and restricted access to virtual private networks.” There is a list of prohibited sites and informational sources, which posses data of various religious, political, and historical events, which do not follow the paradigm of Chinese government propaganda. This situation leads to the active use of various proxy service, predominately TOR.
Malicious activity level
Despite considerable problems with the governmental control, the level of Internet malicious in China is considerably lower than in the US. Cook in his article mentioned that “China (9.63%) was the second-biggest source of global threats detected by Symantec, down from the number one spot last year. While the United States 23.96%.” It is possible to explain with the distinct level of education and Internet penetration. In other words, China possesses a higher number of users, but the quality level of them is considerably lower. But at the same time, use of various proxy services, even being popular in China, still does not occupies such significant place in Internet use and malicious, as in the US. McCarthy mentioned in his article that even proxy services are hardly accessible now and “The Chinese government requires all VPN services to apply for a license, and as part of the license requirements, they are expected to block access to websites and services the Chinese government doesn’t approve of.” Thus, the level of malicious activity in the US is higher, but China, even having a substantial number of restrictions and bans, still occupies the second place in the world’s rate.
E-commerce and companies
There are a plenty of different famous American trans international corporations aimed at working on the Internet, but the e-commercial sphere of China at the appropriate level too. Wang et al. mentioned that the recent years became the peak of the e-commerce development in both countries, but China is possible to treat as a current leader in this sphere regarding the scale of its spreadings and popularity. The e-commerce of China is popular even abroad in China. Internet in China is controlled by the government, that is why Chinese industry and its products compose the biggest part of the entire market of the country. Also, the US e-commerce is represented by giant corporations, while Chinese market is full of their analogies. The ban on some international companies helps local Chinese market, and local e-commerce correspondingly, to advance significantly, while America is full of competing international firms.
The Internet is one of the most popular and powerful mass media nowadays, and its generalization effect on the society is hard to estimate over. Being international net, which digitally unifies the most remote corners of our Earth, it is worth mentioning particular differences of the Internet in such distinct countries as China and the USA. Analysing various outside affections and different paradigms of inside political attitudes of countries’ governments, it is possible to mention a considerable diversity on the Internet as an informational mean. In other words, for Americans Internet is a mean of communication, commerce, and entertainment, which is available for the majority of people in the country. When Chinese government limits considerably the scale of Internet use in a country, which affects almost every sphere of population’s life. Analysing the political interventions into the life of Chinese citizens, it is easy to understand the rising number of malicious activity and TOR use in the country; economic paradigms related to e-commerce, and many other differences.
McCarthy, Kieren. “Russia, China Vow To Kill Off Vpns, Tor Browser.” Theregister.Co.Uk, 2017, https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/07/11/russia_china_vpns_tor_browser/.
Cook, James. “The World’s 10 Biggest Cybercrime Hotspots In 2016, Ranked.” Business Insider, 2017, http://uk.businessinsider.com/worlds-10-cybercrime-hotspots-in-2016-ranked-symantec-2017-5/#2-china-963-9.
Internet World Stats. “Usage And Population Statistics. Asia..” Internetworldstats.Com, 2017, http://www.internetworldstats.com/.
McClellan, Philip. “INTERNET: Living With The Great Firewall Of China.” Reuters, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-congress-classof2012-internet/internet-living-with-the-great-firewall-of-china-idUSKBN1CM1FR.
Sanders, Robert. “The U.S. Government No Longer Controls The Internet.” Business Insider, 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-government-no-longer-controls-the-internet-2016-10.
Wang, Kevin Wei et al. “How Savvy, Social Shoppers Are Transforming Chinese E-Commerce.” Mckinsey & Company, 2016, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/how-savvy-social-shoppers-are-transforming-chinese-e-commerce.