China Discovering The Futility Of Banning Internet Cafes

from the hello,-speakeasy dept

It's no secret that the Chinese government has something of an uncomfortable relationship with the internet. It wants to allow the internet for the sake of economic growth in the country, but is deathly afraid of people using it for anything government officials don't like. That explains the huge bureaucracy employed to help "censor" the internet -- even if they don't want to call it censorship. A second issue the government has been trying to deal with is internet cafes -- which many in the government believe leads to internet addiction. One local official apparently went so far as to ban all internet cafes in his region. While there are parents who are thrilled about this and say what a great thing it is that the cafes are banned, they're all fooling themselves. Pretty soon after the cafes were banned most reopened as underground internet cafes. That's right, it's like the speakeasies of Prohibition in the US. What's funny about this is how it highlights the difference between thinking you've done a good thing and what actually happens. While government officials (and some parents quoted in the article) think the ban is helping to protect their children, it's actually doing the opposite. The underground cafes are a lot less likely to pay heed to any other rules that make sure they're safe -- and the children get less (if any) instruction on how to use the internet constructively, rather than in a damaging manner. Without that guidance, it seems a lot more likely that they'll end up having problems than if they were simply instructed on the potential risks of being online and put in a safe environment.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 7:12pm

    The Prohibition Did Work

    Although the politically correct textbooks like to say that the Prohibition was a "failure", the laws accomplished their true intent -- to reduce the prevalence of alcoholism among the working class. In the early 20th century, American cities were plagued with Irish, German, and Eastern European immigrants who drank all the time from a young age, beat their women, and gave birth to millions of FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) babies with impaired intellectual abilities. During the prohibition, only the wealthy or well-connected could go into speakeasies; the remaining rabble largely quit drinking. The lowered quality of available liquor, containing more methanol and toxic ingredients, also increased fear of drinking.

    So it is with the availability of the internet -- millions of high school students and young adults are pissing their lives away on the net, when they could be practicing their math equations and English essays. It is for the good of the country.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 7:39pm

    Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    So you claim that it's the "good of the country", at the end of your essay, for only well to do people and the wealthy to have vice but not the poor or socially incapable?

    I hope you aren't ignoring the ancillary effects of prohibition of any type, such as general crime increase.

    While you may be technically right that drinking was reduced, a side effect of that was increase in other crime and compromising of our legal system with corruption.

    From a political standpoint of reducing the overall ills of society it was a complete and utter failure.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 7:55pm

    Re: Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    So you claim that it's the "good of the country", at the end of your essay, for only well to do people and the wealthy to have vice but not the poor or socially incapable?

    I said the well-to-do could afford the vice, not that they deserved it.

    I hope you aren't ignoring the ancillary effects of prohibition of any type, such as general crime increase.

    Prohibition greatly reduced crimes related to drunkenness -- street fights, domestic violence, neglected children. Health standards improved also, because drunks were no longer dying from exposure. Organized crime had already existed among immigrant communities, and the decrease in other crimes focused public attention on organized crime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    What I meant to say was "I'm a total loser".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 8:32pm

    You are only right that Prohibition had an effect X if this would not happen if prohibition was not there. Some of the
    processes you describe have to do with the integration of masses of population and the improvement of life conditions due to scientific advances. Otherwise, I could say that the cause for WW2 was my grandfather: he lived when it happened...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    charlie potatoes, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 8:35pm

    ah dorpus.. what an idiot

    it gave rise to a monied criminal class. how do u think the mobs got rich? duh. al capone, lanksey, schultz.. they ran illegal alcohol.
    we have done the same in this era with our ridiculous drug war. it has made billionaires of the drug kingpins.
    no one stopped drinking. they just paid the mob. what a moron. you cannot legislate morality.. and you shouldn't confuse sin with crime.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 8:37pm

    Re:

    Scientific advances have not prevented the masses in wealthy countries from finding new addictions in meth, cocaine, heroin, etc. They are outlawed because of their destructive effects upon society. While some people call for the legalization of marijuana, few people argue that meth/cocaine/heroin should be legalized as well. Laws cannot stop addictive behaviors, but they can control the destructive effects of them.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    dorpus, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 8:44pm

    Re: ah dorpus..

    it gave rise to a monied criminal class. how do u think the mobs got rich? duh. al capone, lanksey, schultz.. they ran illegal alcohol.

    If they got rich from illegal alcohol, then it prevented them from getting rich from burglary, extortion, contract killing, etc. which was more popular before prohibition.

    we have done the same in this era with our ridiculous drug war. it has made billionaires of the drug kingpins.

    People with short life spans, because their illegal wealth makes them stand out? The vast majority of drug dealers are in fact quite poor.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Bobshaker, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 9:07pm

    "If they got rich from illegal alcohol, then it prevented them from getting rich from burglary, extortion, contract killing, etc. which was more popular before prohibition."

    It did? If YOU say so. Wouldn't such wealth just make them stronger against the law and practice other crimes more easily? Though I agree prohibition WAS a good idea in terms of bringing the masses to a healthier social situation, politically it was a complete disaster. The corruption and the power of crime syndicates was through the roof.

    "American cities were plagued with Irish, German, and Eastern European immigrants who drank all the time from a young age, beat their women, and gave birth to millions of FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) babies with impaired intellectual abilities"

    Wow. Plagued huh? Nice.
    The wealthy you mean white descendant Americans could 'afford' such 'vices'. Would it better if it was worded as 'allowed' such 'pleasures'. I can see where you come from. Its no surprise you would ban internet or just cafes as in this article. Do you have any idea how useful the internet is? Yeah good luck buddy, stop the internet. HA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Nobody Special, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 9:40pm

    See South America.
    Prohibition bad.
    See U.S.S.R.
    Chinese government badder.
    See France
    Underground internet cafe excellent.
    China could use small organised groups of people
    who happen to disagree with their political masters for something or other it seems to me.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    sofa-king wetodd, Feb 9th, 2007 @ 11:24pm

    Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    What Prohibition did was create the great depression. So you take the kids out of a public enviroment and push them back to their bedrooms isolated from the rest of the world? How the F* is that any better? bah, you could be right though, most everything I look at anymore has made in china on it. Maybe this will bring jobs back to the us? LOL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    identicon
    David King, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 4:40am

    Yay, a working prohibition

    It's nice to see that the alcohol prohibition worked so well keeping booze away from the poor. Also surprising, considering how ineffective the prohibtion against cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines has been.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    haywood, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 5:21am

    Tin foil hat time

    Prohibition was a smoke screen. What was really going on was the expansion of the power of the federal government. before this you could rob a bank in Texas, run to Oklahoma and thumb your nose across the bridge. much like the expansion of federal powers we have today under the guise of fighting terrorism, the prohibition era allowed law after law to be passed granting ever stronger federal control, and weakening state sovereignty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Jack Sombra, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 5:22am

    dorpus, you area dreaming if you think prohibition worked/works.

    For government/society the effects of the prohibition of anything is pretty simple

    Prohibit something = Give up all control over it and hand it over to the criminals

    Regulate it though and society/govenment gain more control over it.

    Before Prohibition alcohol consumtion was totally unregulated, with many of the negative effects you describe. So they ban it, sure the negative effects of out of control alcohol consumption were no longer as visable but don't fool yourself into thinking they were gone, they had just been swept under the carpet, to a place where criminals rule and their only rule was profit.

    But once alcohol was legalised again, in a controled manner we ended up with the situation we have today, where to make alcohol standards have to be followed, where to sell alcohol you have to be licensed, where you have to be of age to drink legally, and if someone sells to an underaged drinker they lose their livelyhood or if they keep "pushing" drink to someone obviously overly intoxicated the server can be held responsible and best of all for govenment, massive tax revenue.

    Is it a perfect solution, no, but it is about 10000 better than the situation under Prohibition

    Now if only the world would learn the same lessons with drugs and every thing else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Eric the Grey, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 5:59am

    Psst!

    Hey, kid! Yea, you.

    Howdja like some Internet access? No parents, just you and the web.

    Come on, first hour's on the house...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Karl Mano, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 6:54am

    Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    Seems like "math equations and English essays" are the ultimate goal. Cool. I got full marks in my English and my Maths. Now what? Life's over Dorpus?

    What about sharing information, creating ventures, meeting people, discussing issues, sharing emotions? Ah, the Internet can't do that, can it? Pity for you that I just spent an hour videoconferencing with my family whom I haven't seen for six months. Ooops sorry!! I should have been practicing my Calculus Integration - right! For the good of the country ...

    You know what. Think I will drink to that! ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 10:26am

    In Europe for example, not only is alcohol not illegal obviously, but they also don't have as many Draconian laws surrounding it, like the absurd idea that you need to be in your twenties to drink alcohol. Yet European countries still survive, somehow. How do they ever do it, without so many bullshit rules? I think what it comes down to, is that Americans are just plain batshit stupid. There's really no other explanation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 2:18pm

    Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    You are just ignorant you think the workers and poor people were not drinking? That is just another "statistical fact" because nobody really take in consideration how easy is to make own alcohol. About prohibition it's never working. People will find different ways to do what they wan to do, no matter what gov is and what the punishment is, they will always obey prohibition.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Bilbo, Feb 10th, 2007 @ 8:21pm

    Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    I am a teacher and my students would argue - quite rightly - very differently about 'pissing' their lives away.

    Being 'on the inside', I am probably more qualified to voice an opinion on that issue.

    Absolutely, the ABuse of anything is a 'bad thing' (e.g. too much alocohol, too little sleep, too much TV, too much fast food, too few vegetables, etc). However, the wholesale opinion of 'it is bad' is, in ltself, bad.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    leaglebob, Feb 11th, 2007 @ 1:28am

    Its all Definitional

    Is prohibition narrowly for the subject addressed or for the general purpose of improving society?

    As this betterment is always bought by the limitations on personal freedom, such is open to debate and personal preferences.

    I would rather live in a society where individuals who "choose" to ruin their own lives would do so at relatively little impact to my own as opposed to having everyone controlled with maximal impact to my own choices.

    The unintended consequences of the internet has brought the GOUSA much of its outsourcing headaches. It will be interesting to watch for its effects on China's task masters.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    The Cell Geek, Feb 11th, 2007 @ 8:20am

    In fairness...

    For a country that also has limited the number of kids you can have, trying to ban the internet doesn't seem like that big of a deal.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    mellow, Feb 11th, 2007 @ 3:04pm

    Re: ah dorpus.. what an idiot

    Don't forget Jack Kennedy as one of the most prolific and wealthy bootleggers

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    miso, Feb 11th, 2007 @ 5:46pm

    Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    dorpus, I was actually waiting for a comment about Japan in this one. What a disappointment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    me, Feb 11th, 2007 @ 8:23pm

    wow, when China takes over the US I am going to Canada....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Scott, Feb 22nd, 2007 @ 3:10pm

    Re: The Prohibition Did Work

    dorpus wrote:
    "So it is with the availability of the internet -- millions of high school students and young adults are pissing their lives away on the net, when they could be practicing their math equations and English essays. It is for the good of the country."

    The failure of 'some' youths to practice their math equations and English essays does not impact 'the good of the country' in any way at all. Some kids will never be great at school. The only thing that has changed since before the advent of the internet is the nature of distraction - e.g. from rampant drug-use and less challenging courses in the 60's, to the internet and much steeper learning curves today. Kids will be kids. Besides, all 'the country' needs in order to be 'good' is that a minimum number of people remain skilled. The rest can (and should) do as they please.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This