After Chenggang, a well-known talking head on Chinese state TV, posted a blog demanding Starbucks be evicted from its prime spot in China’s Forbidden City, the response has been well, overwhelming.
Chenggang’s post has since received more than half a million hits. Not too shabby.
Of course, this entry isn’t really about one man’s dream of seeing the demise of Starbucks (think Fight Club, baby!), it’s about the growing power of the blogosphere in controlled states like China.
The appeal of blogs in a country where the traditional media are strictly censored by the government which uses them to propagate approved information and opinions, lies in both the relative freedom they enjoy, and in their interactivity.
Even for those not especially interested in politics, “blogs tell me about things that are hot, like pop stars or new movies, and I can tell other people what I think,” says Qiao He, a young Chinese teacher. “I can speak my own mind, and maybe somebody will reply.”
Freedom and interactivity have typically not been the Chinese government’s favorite flavors, but cyberspace is never easy to police.
“The government still really wants to control opinions in the blogosphere, but the essence of the blog phenomenon is that it is uncontrollable,” says Hong Bo, a well-known blogger whose site focuses on technology and Internet issues.
Now that’s power. You can read the rest of this article in The Christian Science Monitor here.