Extend Hope to the Endless Future

2011-08-12 18:11:09

In September 2005, the students of Dashui Village Mid-school in Dafang County----the middle part of Bijie District in northwest of Guizhou province, China, will have their first sight and first time to touch computers in the new-built multimedia classroom curiously and excitingly. These computers from Beijing, the capital of China, were the donation of ‘5•18 Internet Charity Day’ initiated by Internet Society of China (ISC).

ISC was inaugurated in May 2001 and sponsored by more than 70 sponsors, including network access carriers, ISPs, facility manufacturers, research institutes etc. ISC have long engaged in the development of China’s Internet industry and made great contribution to the Internet’s popularization and application in China. There is no shirking the responsibility that ISC makes the Internet accessible to everyone, creating an Information Society in China.

Internet acquires its continuous development rapidly this year that the total Internet users in China has exceeded to 100 million and nearly 50 million computers can access to Internet. In this regard, China has become the second large population of netizen in the world just after America.

However, the growth of Internet users is not recognized as maximizing the Internet’s popularization and application. In China and many countries of the world, the ‘information gap’, ‘knowledge gap’ or  ‘polarization between the rich and the poor’, generally called for ‘digital divide’, does exists in reality. Due to the diversity of reach and use of information, and the unbalance development of ICT and application skills, digital divide has become a serious obstacle striving toward the globalization process that it is an international issue rather than a phenomenon existing in certain countries or regions.

Aiming at pushing forward the shrinking of digital divide, ISC co-launched a proposal with renowned entrepreneurs from domestic industry of Internet service, telecom and computer to initiate the ‘5•18 Internet Charity Day ’ (May 18th) as the first Internet Charity Day in China with the theme of ‘Building the Internet, Benefiting Everyone’ as well as respond the call of the 37th World Telecommunication Day’s theme of ‘Creating an Equitable Information Society: Time for Action’, which was set up on May 17, 2005. Following the call of ‘Internet Charity Day’, the Internet practitioners spontaneously and voluntarily took various actions as equipments donation, fund sponsor and special training to promote ICTs popularization and application in China’s west and north least developed economy region, making ICT and digital opportunity easily-accessible to the disadvantageous and vulnerable group and people.

One of the donees of the ‘Internet Charity Day’ was Dashui Village, Dafang County of Guizhou province where Xu Benyu, honored as one of  ‘People Who Moved China, 2004’ priced by CCTV, served the support education voluntarily. Dafang County located in the northwest of Guizhou province, one of the least developed provinces in China, while Dashui Village was in the east of the County with a distance of 65 kilometers from the County. A lot of dropouts could be seen in the Village everywhere, which resulted from extreme poverty rather than the neglect of education. Xu Benyu, a university student with the major of agriculture economy, came to the County for general social survey in the summer of year 2002. During his stay there, Xu offered the teaching assistance in local school helping to equip the students with knowledge that they themselves were not given in this remote mountain area. When Xu had to return for his new semester these students walked many miles to see him off . The children’s eyes filling with the desire for knowledge always emerged in his mind after his return, two years later, though Xu could continue his further study in postgraduate, he decided to go back to Dashui Village for support education as a volunteer.

Xu’s affecting action was spread through Internet and media in the whole nation, raising close attention from all lives of the society. The teaching condition of Dashui Village Mid-school was rather poor. Though a new teaching building had been built with the social donation, its classrooms lacked necessary hard and soft facilities like blackboard, school desks, chairs, electric lights etc and the lab equipments hardly could be used. Being aware of it, ISC initiated the proposal in the industry to support and donate for this area. In August, donation as computers and stationery collected during the ‘Internet Charity Day’ were sent to the County. Furthermore, with local telecom company’s support, ISC provided a Mid-school a multimedia classroom with Internet accessibility, leading the Internet information highway share the world in this isolated mountainous area.

It is known that myasthenia is one of the fatal incurable diseases in worldwide that the invalids usually come down with the disease in the childhood and suffer from the losing power in their muscle gradually, moving with difficulty year by year till be devitalized. The aspiration of life and the power of Internet inspired this group. Among them, hard-minded ones set up an online BBS (Bulletin Board Service) named ‘Jing Cai Tong Xing’, means ‘go together accompanying with the brilliant trip’ in Chinese (http://www.jingcai.org/bbs/index.asp), in which mutual communication platform, learning resource such as English learning, web technology, graphic and animation design could be reached. And some began to strive to try every means to earn their own lives releasing the family burden. Although Internet helped to their access to outside, to encourage the construction of life confidence, their lives and the closely linking online community still confront hardship due to the life obstacle and financial source. Responding to the WSIS’s Declaration of Principles that communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organization. It is central to the Information Society. Everyone, everywhere should have the opportunity to participate and no one should be excluded from the benefits the Information Society offers. ISC co-launched the donation with Internet enterprises to provide the BBS community-maintaining fund, free access to Internet and network storage, encouraging their splendid creation and life online.

During this ongoing activity, ISC was informed that another university student Li Huafen who used to offer support to the Dashui County’s dropouts through waste recycling but unfortunately being diagnosed to catch the disease of leukemia. Li was born in a peasant family of Nanyang City, Henan province of China. Despite Li herself was not so rich but experiencing a manner of thrift in daily life just in order that she could make donation to the poor students continuously. But the therapy had run out of all the money of her family within only a month since the diagnosis. To extend the life filling with dedication, to save the one who used to help others, ISC gave its hand immediately sending the money contributed for Li’s treatment. At present, Li is in the condition of recovery that her healthy indexes have turned to normal.

The‘5•18 Internet Charity Day’this year just gets off to a start, that ISC will continue to implement this activity in persistent of building a people-centered, inclusive and development-oriented Information Society. Even though confronting a wide digital divide as well as a Chinese proverb ‘all things are difficult before they are easy’, we must be confidence and make up our minds to forge ahead in spite of difficulties, implementing the theme of ‘Building the Internet, Benefiting Everyone’ in reality. The ‘Internet Charity Day’ also is to blow the first horn of building a harmonious development Information Society that similar activities should be organized continually to support the development of poor area and the people needed help. Stick to the principle and mission of the organization, ISC will follow the spirit of dedication extending the Internet Charity to the support of informatization.

Under the framework of UN, on the basis of abiding by the WSIS’s Declaration of Principles and Plan of Action, under the principle of open, just, democracy and freedom on Internet, we hope that we could strive to the effort of ISC itself to build a harmonious development Information Society in China. 

When the net build the information bridge and the information running on the digital highway, let the Internet send our hope to you to the endless future.