Web -1.0

The brief outage of the Great Firewall which took place at the beginning of January and allowed Chinese netizens to freely access banned Web sites - many foreign websites like YouTube, Facebook, Blogger or Picasa were blocked at the end of 2008 as a part of an anti-pornography campaign - is a reminder of the strong lid that the government maintains over the Internet in China.

That said, in spite of the sophisticated systems put in place by the government, some netizens are still able to use some of the banned communication media. There is no better example than Chen Yunfei, a writer and activist, who on New Year’s eve twitted from a policy station in Chengdu where is was held.  

In other words, not everybody is moving from the Web 2.0 to 3.0 at the same speed. Some countries – China housing for now and the foreseeable future the largest number of netizens in the world – actually seem to go backwards or at least sideways. Whether or not this will prevent citizens to communicate is another question: according to a report from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) among the top 77 incident that attracted wide attention in Chinese society, in 30% of the cases it was postings on the web that attracted great popular attention to the incidents.