By Khun Eng Kuah-Pearce
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Additional info for Chinese Women and the Cyberspace (ICAS Publications Edited Volumes)
Often access is via open portal or in other cases, through a subscription. Subscription offers the members a sense of exclusivity but there is no guarantee that the netizens will interact with the right type of women, although there is assumption that this will be the case as subscribers will have common interests. Increasingly as the portals rely on advertising revenue, subscription has become less fashionable although it continues to be important for those that aim at a specific group of netizens.
The informants surf the Internet for a variety of reasons. In our survey, we found that, among the Hong Kong informants, surfing the Internet for news is one of the most important tasks. 33 per cent ranked reading news from the Internet as their first and second most important reason for surfing. In Shanghai, 63 per cent of my informants use the Internet to surf for news. In Hong Kong, a second important reason for surfing the Internet is to get information regarding education 42 per cent ranked this to be an important reason for going online, while in Shanghai, only 22 per cent go online to get information on education.
This could be attributed to the ease of access of these websites, but also to the fact that some of the foreign-based websites are blocked by the State and Mainland Chinese have no access to them. Perhaps more importantly, Mainland authorities impose close surveillance of the Internet and sometimes interfere with chatroom communication and the flow of information through cyberspace. It is not uncommon for chatrooms to be closed or websites blocked when the authorities regard them as dangerous or undesirable for the social, moral or political good of the wider community.