China is a fascinating environment, not least vis a vis computing and the Internet. Their relatively late industrialization (Hammond, 2004) contrasts sharply with the pace of their technological development. So while some infrastructure is still at an agrarian level, other is the very bleeding edge of high-tech. Therefore governance poses complex problems internally as they try to maintain strong central control while fostering the development of old sectors and concurrently pushing the new.

Externally adding complications is this desire to maintain the strong central authority in a globally competitive marketplace of technologies. This has led to such developments as WAPI, a Chinese proprietary wireless encryption standard (Mannion and Clendenin, 2003). Although it appeared stalled and I haven't been able to find a WAPI device yet, it looks like it's moving again (Hong, 2009) and I'll soon be able to (Broadcom, 2009). Along the same lines is the implementation of the new legislation requiring vendors to disclose information about encryption they sell to the government (Leyden, 2010). Positions like this are most obviously aimed at controlling information, as defining the encryption or at least possessing the algorithms eases decryption. But they are also a market plays, since moves like WAPI give Chinese firms a competitive edge in their domestic market and ones like the disclosure requirements create leverage against external firms.

China is obviously making technical progress. As one of the fastest developing economies on Earth (EconomyWatch, 2010) it certainly has the requisite resources. So it's probably fair to say that China will be taking more of a leadership role. 'The latest "dirty dozen" stats from Sophos, examining the top twelve countries which are relaying spam from compromised computers, show that China has dropped off the list' (Cluley, 2010), for example.

Personally I have little to offer in the way of solutions that aren't already being developed or implemented. Much of my research might be said to go a rather different direction. I am very pleased that Chinese technicians are working with some fastidiousness and creativity to make China a good netizen, thinking about data and information security and such issues as spam. Of course this process is not without its hiccups (ComputerWorld, 2010). But as I'm interested in what freedoms may be possible here human error can sometimes be beneficial.

Broadcom (2009) Broadcom Features WAPI on Variety of Solutions to Serve the Growing Wireless LAN Market in China [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 2 May, 2010)

Cluley, G. (2010) China slides off list of top spam-relaying nations [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 30 April, 2010)

ComputerWorld (2010) A Chinese ISP momentarily hijacks the Internet (again) [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 2 May, 2010)

EconomyWatch (2010) 12 Fastest Growing Economies in 2010 [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 2 May, 2010)

Hammond, K.J. (2004) From Yao to Mao: 3000 Years of Chinese History. Chantilly, VA: The Teaching Company

Hong, I. (2009) China's WAPI standard wins international support [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 2 May, 2010)

Leyden, J. (2010) Beijing security know-how rule irks suppliers [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 30 April, 2010)

Mannion P. and Clendenin, M. (2003) China throws Wi-Fi a curve [Online]. Available from: (Accessed: 30 April, 2010)