SKYPE in trouble in China (no surprise)

Once again the Chinese government shows that it wants total control of information transfer — and the money that goes with it.

Reuters reported Dec. 31 that the Chinese government is expected to crack down on Skype.

Skype, the highly popular voice over Internet protocol service, provides users with cheap or free voice and video connections anywhere in the world. I use Skype because $140 a year for unlimited calls to more than three dozen countries beats the heck out of the $300 a month I paid the Brazilian telephone service making the same calls.

And that amount was a mere pittance compared to what I had to pay when I lived in Shanghai and called out to the rest of the world. I would bet that things have not changed all that much. (I remember a hefty roaming charge on my Hong Kong mobile phone bill for the times I visited Mainland China. Much bigger than the roaming charges when I was in the States or other Asian countries.)

Seems the ruling elite in China want to make sure that the only VoIP operation are ones they control.

As of Dec. 31 Reuters reports Skype was still available in China. The report added that so far no one in Skype has been informed by the Chinese government their service may be cut.

It is clear the move is aimed — as are most moves by the government to limit Internet access — at protecting three government-controlled phone carriers — China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile.

An unidentified ministry official said VoIP services could only be provided by the big three Chinese operators.

And thus, more money and control into the hands of the central government.

The Chinese government temporarily blocked Skype in 2005. Now it appears it is going after the ISP servers in the country as well.

This is really no big surprise. The Chinese communists have been waging a war over controlling the transfer of information among the people of China even before Mao took power in 1949.

And this is why no one in China trusts the reports in the official media and why rumors carry more weight.

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Filed under Censorship, China, International News Coverage

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