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The largest BitTorrent website BTChina was shut down by the Chinese authority couple days ago and yesterday another popular media sharing site VeryCD.com was also offline. This created a buzz among the Chinese netizens. If you search for the term BTChina in twitter the most twitted phrase is BTChina+VeryCD连起来读就是变态中国很操蛋! (BTChina + VeryCD is Retarded China very fucking stupid. BT is the acronym of Bian Tai – retarded, perverted or abnormal in Chinese and CD is the acronym of Cao Dan – fucking stupid in Chinese)
Movie fans were surprised recently when they visited popular websites that offer free entertainment downloads and found them closed by regulators after China ramped up its battle against copyright infringement.
The move left millions of Chinese users disappointed after they checked out their favorite BitTorrent (BT) websites.
BT sites offer peer-to-peer file sharing protocol used to distribute large amounts of data. Last week, many such sites were either gone completely or carrying messages advising that links to downloadable movies and TV shows were unavailable.
You can read about VeryCD’s situation at Danwei. but if you go to BTChina.net as for today, the following message displays:
BTCHINA 接广电通知 因无视听许可证 所以工信部删除备案号 关站 关于本人安全问题 再次证明网上传言不可信 特别是新闻最不可信
There are too many rumors online, it is necessary to come forward and explain, but I don’t want to involve domestic IDC (Internet Data Center) in China to commit the crime of illegal access, therefore I borrowed a foreign ip. Please pass on the words, this page will be shut down later also.
BTCHINA was notified by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) that because of the absence of audio-visual broadcasting license, Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of PRC is to delete our record number and shut down the site. As for my personal safety, once again to prove rumors on the internet are untrustworthy, especially the news is the most unreliable.
After reading this message I don’t know how much I can trust the China Daily article or even the following article from ifeng on an interview with BitTorrent owner. Anyway here it is.
How the site looked before the closedown
“I am really quitting permanently, I will not make another BitTorrent website anymore.” On December 8th, BTChina has just been shut down, the owner of the website Huang Xiwei (黄希威) in an interview with NBD told the reporter “I was already prepared, therefore when the government said to close it down, I closed it down. As a personal website, BTChina had already reached the end of the road long ago.”
China’s largest BT search engine, BTChina was first discovered being inaccessible by the netizens on December 4, then followed by the news of one of the founders Huang Xiwei being arrested.
“Then the news spread widely, several major Internet portals all published such information. Many friends and relatives were worried about me when they heard the news, so I called Sina to clarify.” Huang Xiwei stressed to the reporter “I have not been interviewed before, you are the first.” Huang Xiwei said that even he himself discovered that the site has been shut down very suddenly. “the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television sent the notice to the email department, they did not notify me.” Afterwards Huang Xiwei managed to access and read the relevant document confirming BTChina has finally come to an end.
“I started this (BT) in 2003.” Before there were a group of people doing this also, but Huang Xiwei and couple of his friends spent more efforts, finally made BTChina a huge and successful website. They wrote their own code, used their own money to rent servers and did their own maintenance. “Purely personal interest, we learned the BitTorren technology from foreign countries, but it did not exist in China, so we brought it into China. About the issues happened later, we could not think of them at the time.” Huang Xiwei stated. He also gave an example to prove the existence of BTChina was purely because of “personal interest”. “From the day the site went online to now, BTChina always had a simple look, blue background and simple features and pictures. Many netizens also asked us why we do not change it.” From the beginning till now, BTChina was maintained by Huang and his friends, they did not set up a company and they all had their own jobs.
Reporter found during his research, there are many BT websites in China are supported by businesses that make pirated products, or are to provide content for some large enterprises in exchange for server support and income. Huang Xiwei said, “We know this situation exists, but we never had any relationships with these businesses, and we do not own the content, we are just a search engine.”
Huang XiWei admitted that BTChina has attracted some advertisers. “Not so much money. No loss but not making much either, just maintaining normal operation of the site and that is all.” He once again stated that BTChina is not a commercial website. “Regular commercial sites all have an advertising sales team to operate their advertisements, and normal advertisements do not make much money, and we do not want to accept “low integrity ads”. We only have a few people responsible for the technical stuff, the idea is very simple. We do not want to be irresponsible, because the influence of the website is huge, we can’t just suddenly disappear, must give netizens a statement.” However Huang Xiwei gradually realized, BTChina only had two ways out, one is being abandoned by netizens, second is being shut down.
With a few notices issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), Huang Xiwei already knew the days of BTChina are numbered, “I already predicted that the website would be shut down.” Therefore when it was closed down, Huang Xiwei readily accepted the fact. “I think this had nothing to do with piracy, we have always been paying attention to this issue. Previously when we encountered this situation where some companies come to us, if we violated their rights we immediately removed the content. And if this shut down was because of piracy, then an organization whose rights have been violated should sue us, but no, the only reason was insufficient licenses.” He admitted after so many years, he was emotional to let go of the site.
As for after BTChina being shut down, where can netizens go to download, Huang Xiwei said “Right now many commercial websites already can meet the demands.” He felt that BTChina and UUbird (a BT download site) and so on websites being shut down were only the beginning, there will be more BT download sites being shut down because of insufficient licenses.
Many netizens may not know this, although BTChina was only Huang Xiwei’s personal interest, his company has close ties to BitTorren itself. The famous BT download software BTComet is his the product of his company. However Huang Xiwei refused to comment on the future of BT download software after the Chinese government’s recent high pressure policy on BitTorren and piracy.
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