How does the situation in Iran affect China?

Many are asking this question. More specifically, they are how Web 2.0 tools like Twitter and Facebook will affect China. Will it be harder for the regime in China to control their population?

In the past week or so, a meme has circulated on the Web: “Tiananmen + Twitter = Tehran.” But it’s not just about the so-called “Twitter Revolution.” That’s a nifty catch-phrase — the YouTube election, the Facebook effect, etc. — for many in the mainstream media who are still trying to understand how people live their lives in this social networking age. In this world, a tweet from Canada leads to a Facebook fan page created in the United States, which then leads to a YouTube video from Iran. But these platforms are merely tools that allow people to connect over ideas. A more accurate equation, said Ho, who teaches information technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), is “Tiananmen + Web = Tehran.”

Yet, what this online activity ultimately will amount to — inside and outside Iran — is an open question.

“The only thing I don’t like about that analogy,” Ho said of his take on the meme, is “that I hope Tehran ends better than Tiananmen did.”

Will online energy concentrated in various pockets of the Web translate to offline activism?

I suspect it will be harder for all regimes to put down their people in the future without resorting to levels of brutality seen in extraordinary cases like North Korea. Time will tell.


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