Hey, internet addiction isn't only in America, it's everywhere!

Sick of the pathetic Chinese dialup connection that I'm using right now, averaging a speedy 500 bytes a second (which makes soft linking your nodes after you're done extremely difficult, I might add), I decided to go to the popular internet cafes that are popping up everywhere, mainly next to colleges. I've been to them before, however, they were more like "game cafes". Since the massive expansion of the internet in the past year, I hoped that I could find one with ADSL, which was just introduced a month ago in Shanghai.

When I entered one which a friend of mine recommended, I was greeted by a massive haze of blue cigarette smoke, loud snores, and the "click-click" noises of the keyboards. After finishing my business (the connection was ISDN, ADSL is still too expensive and there is no cable), I walked over to see what they were doing. Apparently, Chinese students have set up an intranet of sorts. It is on the internet, but it is all sites in China and they're all in Chinese. These computers run "Red Flag Linux", which I assume to be a Chinese port of Linux. Their line is supposed to be running off a proxy in Japan or something, which allows them to bypass any government attempts to firewall them. So they say.

There were people sleeping in cots. After talking a bit, apparently some of the people actually sleep here, and use the internet all day long. Talk about addiction. By the looks of some of these people, they've been up for days. I didn't find out exactly what they were doing, but apparently it was some sort of MUD, and also a program called "OICQ", which is a Chinese communications program, but looks nothing like ICQ. At that time, they were throwing threats at a bunch of Taiwanese surfers, who obviously hated them. I got sick from the smoke and left.

I was surprised at the extent of which the internet has entered Chinese culture. If there is one thing I really hate about the Chinese government, it's their pathetic attempts to control free speech. The internet will be the end of all that, and from the looks of it the internet is being embraced by the Chinese people. Good for them.

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