China is one of the most heavily populated countries in the
world, but it is also has a large proportion of poor citizens without access to
technology. As a result of the huge numbers of Chinese citizens the number of
internet users in China is growing rapidly.
The Chinese government commonly censors the Internet and has
only recently begun allowing Chinese citizens to have access to English-language websites. According to numbers released from the Chinese Ministry of Information,
China now has 221 million internet users. This number is up significantly from
the end of 2007 when China reported 210 million internet users.
At the end of 2007 the U.S. had 205 million internet users.
The Chinese Xinhua News Agency quoted the Chinese Information Ministry as
saying, “Despite rapidly increasing the Internet population, the proportion of
Internet users among the total population is still lower than the global
The global average for percentage of Internet users in a
country is 19.1%; China only has an average of 16%. Chinese authorities expect
to have 280 million internet users by the end of 2008.
The internet is an outlet for Chinese citizens to voice
opinions in a country where traditional new media is strictly controlled. The
lack of control over the internet compared to the control China exerts on other
forms of media led Chinese President Hu Jintao to call for a purification of
the internet in 2007.