Forum Europe-China: IT systems on the age of the Internet

Liège, Belgium

Citizens in China and Europe from the academia, NGO, companies, government met in Liège (Belgium) to exchange perspectives and discuss on the topic of Information Society and the Internet in China and Europe. The workshop on "IT systems on the age of the Internet" (4-5 October) was the first step of the China-Europe Forum (6-7 October).

Citizens in China and Europe from the academia, NGO, companies, government met in Liège (Belgium) to exchange perspectives and discuss on the topic of Information Society and the Internet in China and Europe. The workshop on "IT systems on the age of the Internet" (4-5 October) was the first step of the China-Europe Forum (6-7 October).

The two day workshop, organized by Frédéric Sultan from VECAM, presented the state of Information Society and the Internet in the two regions (check the "Documents" label on the workshop site) and we discussed what was in common, what was different, and some potential common action lines.

One common trait on the discussion was that the common issues hide the differences, quite visible as we openly discussed about details.

A few of the most striking differences from my European perspective were: the strong emphasis on protection versus freedom of expression (of preventing: "a priori" filtering of potentially dangerous content such as the Wikipedia, versus acting "a posteriori" in case of infringement) [by the way: this web site seems to be blocked from China]; the importance of protecting children and the youth from dangerous content on the Internet; the emphasis that a rapid economic Online conferencing tools for development practitioners: Finding your path to the right conferencing solution

">development (regions in China compete almost on the basis of GDP growth rate) is key, many times against almost anything else including freedom of expression, environmental issues, etc; the apparent non existence of organizations with independent views from the government; the strict regulation on the production of information (usually limited to the government or formally approved sources); a strong nationalistic view in strongly preserving the chinese culture and chinese values from the "Internet values" (the Internet and spaces like Wikipedia "were not invented here", and therefore they embed participation models strange to the chinese society), the use of the Internet by citizens as a way to send comments to the government, and the strong interest in China for discussing on (internal) politics.

Together we openly and passionately discussed, learned many things about each other in the formal and informal opportunities provided by the workshop, we enjoyed the meeting place, a wonderful palace in Liège, and came back with a much better mutual understanding.

The forum web site

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