The China Matrix
Weekly Press Review

January 6th, 1999

© Kenneth Neil Farrall 1999

In China Internet-related news this week, two brothers convicted of China's first Internet bank heist were sentenced to death, raising concerns of a harsh government crackdown on prohibited online activities and worrying Xu Hong, wife of software store owner Lin Hai. Lin Hai was recently accused of "inciting the overthrow of state power" after allegedly providing some 25,000 e-mail addresses to dissident magazine Dacankao, and is yet to be sentenced. Also this week, two computer users in Fuzhou were arrested for alleged "illegal provision of international calling services" to Chinese customers using IP based Internet phone. The Fuzhou Mawei District Public Security Bureau seized their computer equipment and required 50,000 RMB (US$ 6,000) bail pending their trial.

In the Chinese media, there are reports that the Ministry of Information Industry will soon announce plans for restructuring along functional, not regional lines, as reported by Matrix East December 1st. According to Xinhua, China Telecom is likely to lower telecom rates this year. According to the report, rates for leased lines and international telephone calls will be lowered, while rates for postal service and local phone calls will rise. This should be good news for the Chinese Internet users protesting high access fees who organized a boycott of the China Net service on January 1st.

In other news, the director of AsiaTech ventures, Hanson Cheah, suggested Hong Kong is naturally suited to become a hub for Asian e-commerce. Mr. Cheah believes Hong Kong benefits from its world class logistics, but says that Hong Kong must develop broadband infrastructure if it is to really become a hub.

Relevant headlines and links below...

Censorship & Control
China hits at e-mail to curb dissent
-- Kevin Platt, Christian Science Monitor, December 31, 1998
Chinese Hackers Get Death Sentence
-- Clare Haney, The Industry Standard, December 30, 1998
IP businessmen get day in court
-- Zhao Huanxin, ChinaDaily, December 31, 1998

Infrastructure: Access Costs
Internet Access Costs "Official Protest Page"
-- Web site in Chinese GB
China to Lower Telecom Fees
-- Xinhua News Agency, AsiaBizTech, January 30, 1998

Industry Deals
Datacraft in China deal
-- South China Morning Post, December 29, 1998
Toshiba in joint server venture in China
-- Reuters, CNET, January 4, 1999

Electronic Commerce
Hong Kong Will Be Asian E-Com Hub, Says Venture Capitalist
-- Hans Lombardo,, January 4, 1999

China's IT Market: the year in perspective
-- New Century Group Staff, Computerworld Hong Kong, January 5, 1999