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I arrived yesterday, ten hours from Paris in a middle seat made okay by Etienne, age fourteen for a town near Marseilles, who struggled artfully with English and played games exceedingly well on the little screen in the seat-back in front of me. Jie Liang met me at the airport in his Audi sedan and talked with me about internet in China on the way in to my hotel. Jie works for a New York investors group at IPO level but is more interested himself in ventures. He describes the environment as alive, with internet ventures now focused realistically on financial return, no longer blinded by click-counts. Quick shower and short walk to the Oxford Internet Institute Summer Progam at which I am to speak. Twenty-seven Ph.D students in a room with mics at every seat. Vicki, organizer, introduces a panel of journalism speakers. Ollie speaks, China correspondent for London Times, a handsome man who puts me in mind of the English hearthrob whose name I can’t bring to mind at the moment (Nottingham Hill), speaks about how internet has changed the practice of journalism, freed his kind of journalist to move around the country. Ollie could use a moderator, but ideas are big. Censorship seen in frame of PRC doing very well. Short nap. Julia is showing video shot by a farmer showing thugs beating people to drive them off land a state-run power company wants in order to expand. Six farmers and a thug die. What is the story? She goes to the village to follow up. This becomes a news story in China’s mass media. Elements for a young female Beijing journalist to break a polically sensitive news story into mass media news are brought to life, getting assigned to the story by your boss, getting access to the location often denied by local police, part of cover-up under local authority, getting exciting video. All this happened here because a farmer thought to record digital evidence of the outrage and persuaded others in the village that collecting and protecting evidence is an effective path to follow in appeal to Beijing justice. Last goes Andrew Lih, comparing China-US on mobile to Internet ratio, China way ahead, 3.6:1, the US way behind, 0.9:1; free internet connection here, hassle there; integration of mobile/internet here, separate spaces there. Yes, the message made clear to me by Jie here affirmed and expanded by Andrew, China is on a cutting edge.

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