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Internet in China: Cyberspace Improving Lives

Source: 科技日报 | 2022-09-22 10:24:36 | Author: LU?Zijian

China 5G+ Industrial Internet Conference in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei province. (PHOTO: XINHUA)

By LU Zijian

From dial-up connections at home, to wireless connection on top of Mount Qomolangma, China has witnessed the rapid progress of the Internet over the past years, especially in the last decade.

More accessible Internet

China now has the largest amount of netizens in the world, increasing from 564 million in 2012 to 1.032 billion in 2021.

All administrative villages within the country have been connected to broadband service, and the optical network has now reached all prefecture-level cities. By the end of July, more than 65.7 million households had connected to a 1000M broadband service.

Meanwhile, the proportion of Internet surfing via mobile phones is as high as 99.7 percent, and the number of 5G mobile phone users hit 475 million, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

"The 5G signal was not stable when I visited here last year, but now I can access the full signal," said a happy visitor to Mount Putuo, east China's Zhejiang province.

Credit for these achievements should be given to China's leading 5G technologies and its efforts to realize full coverage of 5G network in all counties.

Breakthroughs have been achieved in terms of 5G sharing, parts, equipment, networking and operation through joint efforts from different enterprises and institutions, some of which are now world leaders.

In particular, China owns over 18,000 declared patent families of the total global 5G standard essential patents, accounting for nearly 40 percent and ranking first, according to a report released by Intellectual Property Development & Research Center, China National Intellectual Property Administration in June.

Safer and cleaner cyberspace

The country has also been working to provide a better Internet surfing environment for its netizens.

More than 100 laws and regulations have been issued, including laws on cybersecurity, data security and personal information protection. For example, the regulation on measures for cybersecurity review clearly states that any Internet platform operator, who possesses personal information of over one million users, must apply for such review before its initial public offerings (IPO) in another country. 

Of all the actions, the Qinglang Operation achieved fruitful results. For the past few years, this campaign has targeted the mess of online fandom culture, "water army," (users who are paid to post online comments with vested interests on websites), online violence and toxic content for teenagers. More than 20 billion pieces of illegal and malicious information have been removed and nearly 1.4 billion accounts deleted.

Some Internet companies also made adjustments based on the problems proposed by netizens, such as optimizing algorithms to prevent different pricing for different customers.

Wider application

Apart from offering information, the Internet has been applied to many other areas.

E-commerce, for example, is now part of life, and people are quite used to buying products online and getting home delivery. Agricultural products have found new markets thanks to e-commerce and live streaming, with the online retail sales in China's rural areas rising from 353 billion RMB in 2015 to 2.05 trillion RMB in 2021.

Taking online classes is not something new either, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, and China has established the largest online education platform in the world.

In addition, telemedicine has been promoted within the country. By the end of 2021, about 94.6 percent of hospitals at Level II or above had used telemedicine.

To assist with this, the National Telemedicine and Connected Health Center has offered training for eight million person-time, and developed an AI powered system to help doctors at primary hospitals with clinical decision making and remote group consultations.

In February 2021, a doctor at People's Hospital of Xizang Autonomous Region in Lhasa offered treatment (diagnosis and treatment via B-scan ultrasonography) to a patient in Nierong county, Naqu city, by using controlled mechanical arms, and the treatment only took ten minutes.

The Internet has changed the way people live, and China will be pulling out all the stops to ensure that the Internet continues to serve its people better.

Editor: 王晓夏

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