This morning on "Backchat" on RTHKRadio 3, Bryan Curtis and I discussed with our guests about Park'N Shop's flip-flop on plastic bags, and the idea of public-private partnership for harbourfront development.
IGF其實是聯合國在討論至制定發展政策中的典型公民社會參與程序，其中也有一些常用的議題確定、分組討論至達成共識的方法，例如一種組織和過程是叫「動態聯盟」（dynamic coalition），目的是「把演員組織起來」（grouping of actors），這些組織都是完全開放參與的，筆者也參與了其中兩個動態聯盟的討論。
第一個動態聯盟是關於制定「互聯網權利宣言」（Internet Bill of Rights），這大概可形容為把國際人權公約在互聯網環境演繹和表述的文件，討論中有人希望宣言可以為互聯網企業在面對人權問題時提供指引，亦有人擔憂這只會讓企業用作擋箭牌，所以如何有效執行違反宣言的行為更重要。這組的工作在里約熱內盧會議前已展開，今次IGF中的工作是要縮細範圍，引進更多參與者，為明年在意大利舉行作準備，並在明年年底下一屆在印度德里舉行的IGF提交草稿。
Those who may expect a repeat of the controversial statements made by Chinese officials in IGF last year in Athens would be disappointed. The forum organized by the Internet Society of China this year in Rio has been straight-forward and lacking in fire and arguments.
Representatives of the host made their presentations in Chinese, with intrepretation (but not simultaneous), which took up a lot of time, and the session was scheduled at the end of the first day, crashing with the beer and food outside in the host’s reception. But to be fair, the presentations were well-delivered with a lot of facts and stats, though in a dry, typical mainland Chinese manner. But to the uninitiated about the state of the Internet in China, it would still be very informative and useful.
This “tactic” worked such that most of the ensuing discussions from the audience focused on the anti-spam and anti-phishing initiatives, and how the international community can cooperate. Only Mark Bench of World Press Freedom Committee queried about Internet censorship in China, but the speakers took the “party line” (no pun intended) that as an NGO, ISC cannot speak for the Government.
But credits to the host for admitting openly that China can use the Internet to improve human rights.” This is what we face all the time in Hong Kong – how to engage and help China become a more responsible part of the international community, and how to make the rest of the world understand China more, This is not easy, especially when we have to tackle controversial and often political issues, and we have to make sure we hold on to our core values.
In fact, in China, “harmony” has become a code word by bloggers for “censorship” — “being harmonized” means “being censored” or banned on the Internet. But the very fact that bloggers are able to joke about their situation like this and play cat-and-mouse with the censors mean that indeed they do manage to make room for themselves.
But it should be remembered that China is the single country in the world with the most number of Internet-specific regulations at all levels and from numerous ministries or areas of governance. Control is legalized and made into the system. So to some, all these anti-spam and secure Internet initiatives are there for good reasons.
In other sessions I went to about human rights and free speech on the Internet, Robert Boorstin of Google repeatedly cited their corporate decision not to provide their Gmail and Blogger services in China, so that they would not be in the predicament of Yahoo! as in the Shi Tao case. This is one way to do it, but certainly not perfect, for instance, Google search in China is still filtered “according to Chinese law.”
A unified industry solution is a good idea, but not easy to define, and be agreed by all, and most importantly, a worry is that such initiatives will only end up to “benefit” the industry by letting them off the hook, but cases like Shi Tao’s will not end up differently when in the end, companies have to “abide by local laws.”
I certainly do not advocate and am plainly against dis-engagement, or divestment as some people propose. China, again as an example, is much better off, much freer, and people have access to much more information now, with the Internet, and with these foreign companies operating in China. In the end, I remain faithful that with the Internet we are down on a one-way street of more openness and democracy with no turning back, for any country and people.
Backchat: Entrepreneurship, Disneyland and Pakistan
This morning on "Backchat" on RTHKRadio 3, Hugh Chiverton and I had Fr. Robert Sirico of the Action Institute as our guest to talk about entrepreneurship and free market. Fr. Sirico brings with him an interesting mix of religion and a definitely right-wing, conservative view of the market. Joining him were Michelle Brown of CSR Asia and Mr Shih Wing-Ching of Centaline, one of Hong Kong's best-known entrepreneurs and philanthropists. We also discussed the proposal for the Government to inject further funds into the Hong Kong Disneyland, and the situation in Pakistan. Click here to listen.
Facebook的玩法卻剛相反。從現身至今，facebook皆為「真名主導」，並且流行附上照片，讓其他人把自己的真面目看得一清二楚。這就令facebook成為建立「公共形象」的大好平台，因為，你選擇參加什麼小組，所有「facebook朋友」皆可知悉，他們不會去統計你在小組內發出了多少或什麼言論，但眼看你參加了哪個小組，即可判斷你大概是一個什麼樣的人。注意健康的人說you are what you eat；注重外表的人說you are what you wear；慣於「以網觀人」的人則說you are what you join....