THE GLORIOUS PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC of China has saved its millions of workers from the perils of using Voice over IP (VoIP) that's not controlled by the state sanctioned telecoms.
No longer will struggling workers have to pay less for their calls by submitting to the evil capitalist pigdog Skype, but instead will only be allowed to use the state-owned enterprises, China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.
The Ministry of Industry website says it is cracking down on "illegal" Internet telephony.
Of course it did not say what it considered an illegal telephony service or name any companies. What it really announced was a hot line where people can grass up any unauthorized VoIP outfit.
It would be logical to think that the order only applies to smaller domestic companies offering the service, rather than a large international company like Skype. Smaller outfits are harder to regulate than bigger ones, after all.
However Hong Kong's Morning Post yesterday reported that an unnamed official at the ministry said only the Middle Kingdom's three state-owned telecommunications companies - China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom - will have the right to offer Internet phone services for calls that link telephones and computers.
A Skype spokeswoman said the company was operating in China and so far had not heard word from the government that it was 'illegal'. Skype said that it obeys Chinese laws. µ