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Professor Finds Only 6 Per Cent of Chinese Websites Link to Foreign Sites

China isn’t a fan of non-Chinese websites: a study found that of the 40 million external links on Chinese websites, only 6 per cent leave for pages outside mainland China. What causes this China-only Web surfing?

Digital Journal — The Chinese don’t link abroad, and they prefer to keep their Internet local, a professor discovered recently.

It seems that surfing on the Internet in China means keeping the Web wanderings domestic.

Jonathan Zhu from Hong Kong’s City University studied five million Web pages from 15,000 websites in China with a total of 40 million external hyperlinks (i.e. pointing outside their website). Zhu found that only a small minority — 6 per cent — leave the Chinese Web atmosphere.

The study also found that 81 per cent of the links investigated head for sites within the “home province,” and 13 per cent go to sites in “other provinces.”

Reacting to the study’s findings on blognation, Chinese resident David Feng suggested several ideas on why China likes to keep their Internet local:
“China’s Internet law regarding Internet news forbids links to foreign news sites on mainland Chinese news sites unless Chinese State Council approval is obtained.”
He also believes that China’s Web resembles an intranet instead of an open avenue of free access:
“Why is it that I can access any local website “just like that” (click and go — truer words could not be uttered!), whereas a click on a link outside Chinese frontiers can create waits of up to 20 — sometimes even 30 — seconds and more? In fact, at some universities, access to sites located outside of geographical mainland China is blocked, period.”
When China welcomes the world for the 2008 Olympics, this study will be key in understanding the nation’s Web culture. And because China will open its door in an unprecedented manner in the coming year, perhaps that 6 per cent figure will change down the road. Nothing is guaranteed, but expect the Chinese to learn more about world cultures during the Olympics week than at any time imaginable. And if that doesn’t alter the Chinese Webscape, nothing will.

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