The purpose of the Virtual China blog is to explore the burgeoning Chinese online world, which we define broadly as "virtual experiences and environments in and about China." We like the broad definition since "China" is found in many forms online, in multiple languages, and experienced by Chinese and non-Chinese people around the world. However, we also try to focus on those aspects of virtual China which are hardest for non-Chinese speakers to find and experience.
The New York Times gives us a taste of some of what can be found among mainland-Chinese produced websites: "terms like "hot sex" or "illegal drugs" take users to dozens of links
to Web sites allowing them to download sex videos, gain entry to online
sports gambling dens or even make purchases of heroin….Countless Web sites peddle police weapons, pepper spray and even machines to siphon electricity from power lines. …And a Web site called the Patriotic Hacker asserts that an instructor
"led and initiated attacks on Japanese Web sites more than 10 times."
It says he even managed to shut down the official Web site for the
Yasukuni Shrine, dedicated to Japan’s World War II military heroes."
The article also points out that despite regular "crackdowns" and tough sounding new regulations by the Chinese government, there are simply too many sites for the police–even the Chinese Internet police–to control. This doesn’t mean that no one is put in jail for writing something the state doesn’t like, but it does mean that the next time you hear about some new draconian piece of Chinese legislation, take it with several grains of salt. As the Chinese say, "上有政策，下有对策"–The top has its policies, the bottom has its counter-strategies.