On June 8, 2010, a white paper, “The Internet in China,” (full text in English) was released by the Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese full text version is also available: “中国互联网状况.”
This is a very important document, because it articulates the Chinese vision for the Internet. For putting this vision in writing, it enables those around the world to hear directly what China has to say rather than relying on others interpretation (with prejudice or otherwise). Those countries sharing China’s priorities could rally behind it. Those oppose can pinpoint areas of contention. (For completeness, the China Internet Network Information Center (CINIC) (中国互联网络信息中心) is an invaluable site to see the ground-level developments of the Internet within China, if you are interested.)
This, obviously, is in contrast to the “vision” offered by the United States via Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, back in January 21, 2010, “Internet Freedom: Where the United States Stands.” (Full-text of the transcript here.)
Some time in the future, we will do a comparison of these two “visions.” It’s obviously not an “apples to apples” comparison, because China’s version is internally focused, whereas the U.S. version is externally focused. However, for all the points Hillary Clinton tries to make and prescribe for the world, imagine those are the same prescriptions for the United States of America. We invite readers to read the full-texts in their entirety and then ask themselves:
1. Which “vision” is more sincere and practical?
2. What is the purpose of China’s version and what is the purpose of the U.S. version?
3. What are the key themes for which the two “visions” have in common?