Surfing Through China

How an idea spread and grew on the Internet.
July 4 1998 3:30 AM

Surfing Through China

The Clinton trip, reflected by the Web.

(Continued from Page 2)

Stay tuned for tomorrow's wrap-up whirl through Hong Kong.

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We're back with Clinton for the China tour's grand finale--Hong Kong. Surfing through this glittering financial superstar is all about funky, colorful graphics, markedly different from the mainland China Web experience. Even the Hong Kong government sports a surprisingly fun Web site, which mingles facts and stats with blinking visuals. Two chunky pie graphs evaluate how the Hong Kong officialdom is handling the Year 2000 problem. (Is a "37% non-compliance rate" good news or bad?)

High on Clinton's Hong Kong agenda is a meeting with Tung Chee-Hwa, Hong Kong's chief executive. Here's his pre-hand over prognosis, which includes a pledge to maintain Hong Kong's accustomed freedoms and to operate under a one-country, two-systems scenario. But the Hong Kong Journalists' Association disputes his success; its "campaign for open government" notes that 69 percent of surveyed HKJA members believe the pre-hand-over government was more open than the current one. Corroborating evidence is offered by a new Washington Post article, which reports that an important documentary by a Hong Kong journalist about fighting in northern China has been kept off the airwaves.

OK, OK ... surf's up and over. Craving some real fireworks--not to mention independence--we catch a cab to the slick, just-opened Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok. Since the airport is just beginning service, expect delays in loading (the Web site). But before you can say dim sum, we're back in the States to celebrate July 4--just as if we'd never left.

Kate Galbraith is in Micronesia writing the fourth edition of the Lonely Planet: Micronesia travel guide. She was formerly an assistant editor at Slate.

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