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China News: Microsoft Released a Windows 10 Version Customized for the Chinese Government

China News recently reported that Microsoft just released a custom version of its flagship operating system Windows 10 specifically customized for the Chinese government. The Chinese version contains a modification to the general version that may collect information and send to other devices. The special edition addressed the concern the Chinese government has on network security. It requires that the operating system only store hardware and software configuration information to local storage providers rather than to services hosted outside of China. The special edition also removed some applications that the Chinese government classified as unnecessary, such as games like Solitaire. Microsoft said the custom system also has a special help feature jointly developed with China Electronics Technology Group Corporation, which is a state-owned high-tech company that develops technology serving both the military and civilian markets. Some international experts expressed their concern that the local storage of information can actually enable the Chinese government to inspect information collected with this version of Windows 10.

Source: China News, May 26, 2017
http://news.china.com/domestic/945/20170526/30577056.html

Business Daily: WannaCry Virus Disrupted PetroChina Gas Stations

On May 13 and May 14, Business Daily reported that a large number of PetroChina’s gas stations suffered major business disruptions due to the spread of the WannaCry virus. Over 20,000 gas stations in the PetroChina chain lost their Internet connection for more than 35 hours. Only 80 percent of the stations recovered after 35 hours. The impact of WannaCry spread across many provinces. Major cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Wuhan, Xiamen and Nanjing were affected. The stations could still pump gas. However, payment cards and Internet payment methods could not function. Basic cash transactions became the only settlement mechanism. After PetroChina identified the spreading trend within its network, the company proactively cut off the uplink connections of its stations in order to contain the damage. The biggest impact was actually one day ago (May 12) and a massive number of attacks of WannaCry “carpet bombed” many Chinese colleges and universities. PetroChina once had the highest market value in the world (surpassing ExxonMobil). Now it is in second place.

Source: Business Daily, May 15, 2017
http://www.nbd.com.cn/articles/2017-05-15/1105575.html

New Regulations Ban Non-State-Owned Organizations from Internet News Editorial Business

Well-known Chinese news site Sina recently reported that the State Internet Information Office just announced new Regulations for the Internet News Information Services. The new Regulations separated the Internet news editorial business from the Internet news operational business. Only state-owned organizations can conduct the editorial business. Non-stated-owned organizations can republish and redistribute authorized news on the Internet, with the condition that the sources, original captions, original authors and editors are carried over to the republished version. The republished sources of the Internet news must be traceable. The new regulations cover all websites, applications, forums, blogs, microblogs, public social media accounts, instant messaging and direct Internet broadcasting channels. All organizations providing internet news editorial services must first register with the government. These state-owned organizations are required to establish the position of Chief Editor, who will be held responsible for following the regulations.

Source: Sina, May 2, 2017
http://news.sina.com.cn/c/nd/2017-05-02/doc-ifyetstt4169079.shtml

China Faces Shortage of Tens of Millions of High Tech Workers

According to an article in Xinhua, China faces a labor shortage of tens of millions of high tech workers while its college graduates are struggling to find a job. The article stated that in Sichuan Province there are only 6.8 million technical workers and only 1 million of them are high tech workers. In the Hangzhou labor market, 71.4 percent of the companies lack high tech workers. In Tianjin, the ratio of the demand for high tech workers to the supply is 10:1. The statistics also indicate that, due to workers’ low skill level, Chinese labor productivity is only at 40 percent of the world’s average or 7.4 percent of the rate in the U.S. The article pointed out that this is one of the main reasons that China is a giant but not strong.

Source: Xinhua, April 17, 2017
http://education.news.cn/2017-04/17/c_129542053_2.htm

China’s New Regulation: Those Who Use VPN to Break the Firewall for Unauthorized Access to International Internet Will Be Punished

In January 2017, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a document about monitoring the grey area of using a virtual private network (VPN) to break China’s “firewall.” On March 27, China’s Chongqing Municipality re-issued a revised version of the “Guidance for Administrative Punishment for Chongqing Public Security’s Internet Supervision.” The revised document stipulates that anyone falling within the jurisdiction of Chongqing who uses tools to break the information firewall of the Chinese authorities to visit websites outside the wall may be fined.” Those whose acts are deemed to have constituted a crime shall be held for having criminal responsibility.”

For mainland Internet users, the VPN is no stranger. It is seen as an effective tool to break the firewall in China, making the visit to the outside world over the wall simple and inexpensive.

Source: Duowei, March 28, 2017
http://china.dwnews.com/news/2017-03-28/59807821.html

RFA: Microsoft Customized Windows 10 for the Chinese Government

Radio Free Asia (RFA) recently reported that, according to Microsoft, a joint effort between Microsoft and its Chinese partner has been completed. The project was to customize the Windows 10 operating system to comply with the requirements that the Chinese government imposed. Experts expressed their belief that this new accomplishment may improve the weak sales situation of Microsoft products in the Mainland China market, which has heavily regulated and controlled the Internet market landscape. The customized Windows 10 version is designed specifically for government purchases instead of for the consumer market. Many international technology companies had to do the same thing. Qualcomm, Intel, and IBM all took the same approach. However, Microsoft did not reveal what they did for the Chinese government. The customization was required under the Chinese government’s worry about “back doors.” This task was challenging because Microsoft had to satisfy China’s requirements while protecting its core intellectual properties as well as ensuring that the Chinese government would not monitor the company.

Source: RFA, March 22, 2017
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/meiti/nu-03222017105817.html

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