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    Dear Biomch-L readers,

    Considering the various Chinese participants during the Perth ISB meeting
    last month, and prior effort to attract subscribers from the PRC, the
    following posting received a few minutes ago might be worth while reading.

    Let's hope that the PRC's bid for the Olympics will help opening further
    contacts with a hitherto highly closed culture hosting many fine biomechani-

    Herman J. Woltring, Eindhoven/NL

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

    Date: Sun, 12 Jan 1992 18:11:41 -0500
    From: GEAND@EDUC.UMASS.EDU "G. Ernest Anderson"
    Subject: China E-Mail Network
    Sender: "CHINANET: Networking In China"

    China network observations from October, 1991, visit 1/12/92

    The Institute of Computer Applications (ICA) at 10 Che Dao Gou,
    Haidian District, Beijing, was created to provide data processing
    and computer services to small and medium organizations that could
    not afford their own computer installations. The ICA office is
    extremely difficult to find; it is "hidden" at the rear of a complex
    whose main mission appears to be quasi-military, and whose neighbors
    "don't know anything about it." ICA is under the Ministry of
    Machinery and Electronics Industry.

    Contact was established by E-Mail to SYSTEM@ICA.Beijing.Canet.CN
    Qian Tian Bai, Vice-Chief Engineer, P.O.Box 2418-26, Beijing, China
    100081, phone 841-3654, is the contact person.

    Chinanet is very small, and VERY EXPENSIVE. Costs are 8000 Yuan
    to join, 2000 Yuan per month maintenance, and 10 Yuan per KILObyte
    of information sent OR RECEIVED. For comparison, the average
    Professor's salary in PRC is 150 Yuan per month. This explains
    why some Internet information Qian Tian Bai wanted is being sent
    by regular mail rather than E-Mail. Those of us who view Internet
    as a big, free resource need to realize that casual communications
    elsewhere, and especially to China, may NOT be welcome by the
    recipient because of the cost.

    FAX is much more prevalent than E-mail throughout Asia, partly because
    the character set in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore,
    etc. is not amenable to western style keyboarding, nor is the use of
    English (Roman characters) that widespread. As a side note, a major
    data base research problem in Beijing is how to produce a telephone
    directory! To get a home telephone number, even if I knew the full
    name and address and could pronounce it correctly in Chinese, I had
    to go through the place where the person worked; most work places
    have an agreed upon Pinyin or English name that CAN be sorted on,
    listed, and retrieved electronically.

    Chinanet nodes exist in Beijing, Harbin, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, with
    dial-up connections other places. Most users are businesses or
    Chinese Academy of Sciences; practically none are Universities.
    University computing centers (Computer Science Departments) seem to
    be in some sort of communication with each other using something
    called CNPAC, which is entirely graphic due to the nature of the
    natural character set of China. This might explain why gateway(s)
    to Chinanet or Internet don't seem to exist.

    Chinanet's connections to the outside world are via a 2400 bps link
    (sattelite) to University of Karlsruhe, using PMDF protocol. Call-ins
    are done twice a day for exchange of international mail. ICA hardware
    includes VAX 8700, Siemens 7760, and MVAXII cluster.

    The University of International Business and Economics in Beijing has
    a massive computer-based communication facility, installed for the
    Asian Games last year, and maintained (but not used) in support of
    Beijing's bid for the Olympics. Connections go throughout China, Asia,
    and much of the rest of the world. My guess is that this machine could
    host an extensive and inexpensive E-mail network with practically no
    additional capital investment! I said this to everyone who would
    listen in other agencies I visited; perhaps that may have some effect.
    Unfortunately, I visited ICA before I visited UIBE and could not get
    ICA's reaction to the idea.

    Without knowing it when travel plans were made, a major conference
    on telecommunications was to be held in Beijing about Nov. 1. ICA
    suggested they could get me in if I were in Beijing at the time, but
    I had already accepted a "Soviet" Academy of Science invitation for
    November. I have not been able to find out what transpired at that
    conference, although I have been promised a copy of the proceedings.
    Perhaps someone who was there could enlighten me (and any others on
    the network) about serious interest in moving China forward with
    global networking.

    As an interesting aside, one of the major U.S. planners of the Nov.
    conference also created a large share of international use of Chinanet
    in the previous month, and was pointed out to me as someone insensitive
    to what their costs were. My personal reaction was that action was
    needed to drive down costs (or get them subsidized) because what I saw
    represented to me exactly the kinds of interchanges the networks were
    designed to facilitate.

    Addititions, corrections, interpretations, and comments welcome.

    G. Ernest Anderson GEAND@EDUC.UMass.EDU
    University of Massachusetts