China afraid of the Internet

As China’s Internet-savvy population grows larger each day, government officials there are worried about the detrimental effects of the Internet on both society and the economy. One Chinese website, tencent.com (and its subsidiary QQ.com), is especially troubling for the Chinese leadership. Tencent’s messaging service, which boasts usage by over two-thirds of China’s Internet users, has ...

603424_QQlogo_05.gif
603424_QQlogo_05.gif

As China's Internet-savvy population grows larger each day, government officials there are worried about the detrimental effects of the Internet on both society and the economy.

One Chinese website, tencent.com (and its subsidiary QQ.com), is especially troubling for the Chinese leadership. Tencent’s messaging service, which boasts usage by over two-thirds of China’s Internet users, has its own virtual economy with currency counted in "QQcoins". The online currency is so ubiquitous that it is now accepted by some other Chinese companies as legal tender. Fearing that the QQcoins are being used to circumvent China's strict anti-gambling laws and the potential for the virtual economy to negatively affect the real Chinese economy, the government banned the use of virtual currency for anything other than virtual services.

Meanwhile, the Internet has become such a terrible social ill that China has indefinitely postponed approval for any new Internet cafes, according to a notice issued by 14 different government entities.

As China’s Internet-savvy population grows larger each day, government officials there are worried about the detrimental effects of the Internet on both society and the economy.

One Chinese website, tencent.com (and its subsidiary QQ.com), is especially troubling for the Chinese leadership. Tencent’s messaging service, which boasts usage by over two-thirds of China’s Internet users, has its own virtual economy with currency counted in “QQcoins”. The online currency is so ubiquitous that it is now accepted by some other Chinese companies as legal tender. Fearing that the QQcoins are being used to circumvent China’s strict anti-gambling laws and the potential for the virtual economy to negatively affect the real Chinese economy, the government banned the use of virtual currency for anything other than virtual services.

Meanwhile, the Internet has become such a terrible social ill that China has indefinitely postponed approval for any new Internet cafes, according to a notice issued by 14 different government entities.

China is in the throes of a campaign to “purify” the Internet, and most of the content of the notice was aimed at tightening controls over the country’s estimated 113,000 Internet cafes. It blamed the cafes for fostering “internet addiction,” banned approval of new ones this year, and toughened penalties for those that admit minors.

If you still aren’t convinced of the Chinese government’s proposition that the Internet is harmful, check this out:

An obese 26-year-old man in northeastern China died after a “marathon” online gaming session over the Lunar New Year holiday, state media said on Wednesday.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.