August 1996

Of Nations and Politics

by John December

No one ever said the Net was going to be easy. Despite the quick way Internet technologies can zip messages around, the human communities using these networks are often are under very different stresses.

This month, we take a look at some themes of international communication online. Sue Church looks at how an Irish expatriate is keeping in touch with home through online connections. Marco Farinelli reports about his experiences in studying and living in the United States and how online communication has bridged the gap to his native Italy.

I provide a report about how politics has played a role in an online communication conference. China has refused to grant a visa to Elizabeth Wong, a Legislative Councillor in Hong Kong, who was scheduled to speak at the Asia Pacific World Wide Web Conference in Beijing this month. China has taken a fairly harsh attitude toward online communication [So have other governments, such as the United States], but China's refusal involves more than just Internet policy, but the politics of an event that has been planned in Asia for nearly a century: the impending turnover of Hong Kong to China in less than a year. Presently, Hong Kong's Net connections are vital and plentiful. Will that be true one year from now?

I was honored to be asked to speak at the conferences in Beijing and Hong Kong. I look forward to meeting Elizabeth Wong in Hong Kong and regret that she won't be with me when, and if, I reach Beijing.

Future Issues

Thanks to everyone who responded to our survey last month. We're still looking over the responses and considering how the responses can be helpful in forming our editorial policies and plans. My main goal is to bring good writing and compelling issues about online communication to this magazine. Toward that end, we're still looking for a few good writers for future issues. [TOC]

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