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Communications (Telephone, Post, Internet, TV, Radio)

China - Communications (Telephone, Post, Internet, TV, Radio)

There are six domestic telecom operators in China, providing domestic and international call services. International calls can be made most cheaply by using an IP (Internet phone) card, or an IDD card.

There are mobile telephone networks in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and many other areas of east and southeast China. Networks are operated by China Mobile and China Unicom

Various Internet Service Providers (ISPs) operate in different regions, and there are internet facilities in hotels and at internet cafes in main towns. Connections tend to be a little slow by international standards. Most new residential compounds in the main cities have ADSL or Broadband already installed, for which users pay a monthly charge of around RMB130. Typical hourly charges for internet use are RMB 4 per hour spent on line, with off-peak discounts. Regulations have recently come into force requiring internet users to register with Chinese public security authorities. Failure to do so is a criminal offence.

Post offices can be found on every few blocks in the main cities, and are also widely available in rural areas. They are easily identified by a red and white star on a green sign. As well as offering the usual postal services, larger post offices provide facilities for paying bills, making telegraphic money transfers and making telephone calls.

Postal delivery to and from China can be rather slow, with outward post typically taking around a week to reach Europe or the US, and inward deliveries reportedly taking anywhere between ten days and six weeks to arrive. Packages usually have to be collected from the post office. If you are sending a package, this should not be wrapped until the contents have been inspected by post office customs officials. DHL and FedEx also operate in China.

China's media are tightly controlled by the government. They limit access to foreign news providers by restricting rebroadcasting and the use of satellite receivers, by jamming shortwave radio broadcasts and by blocking web sites.

The main English-language daily newspaper is the China Daily. There are also weekly news magazines in English including the Beijing Review. Each city has its own Chinese newspaper, usually published by the local government, as well as a local Communist Party daily.

State-run Chinese Central TV (CCTV), provincial and municipal stations offer a total of around 2,100 domestic television channels. The availability of non-domestic TV is limited, although selected foreign channels are allowed to transmit via cable in Guangdong province.

China National Radio and China Radio International carry out state-run radio broadcasting. The latter broadcasts in more than 40 languages. The BBC World Service and the Voice of America can be received in China.

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