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So Much For Negotiation: Chinese Government Orders Browsers to Kill Train Ticket Plugins

Just yesterday it seemed that China’s Railway Ministry was in the process of negotiating nicely with domestic browser companies to get them to remove plugins and other web apps that made it easier for users to purchase train tickets on the Ministry’s 12306 ticket purchase site. But apparently those negotiations weren’t moving fast enough, because the now another government agency, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has stepped in and ordered domestic browser companies to knock it off.

The order apparently came down some time on Friday, and it will put a swift end to all domestic ticket-helper services, meaning that everyone has to go back to using the poorly-designed 12306 website itself, or stick with overseas options like Firefox plugins that the government may not be able to shut down. But the request isn’t as unreasonable as it sounds; many of the plugins work by ceaselessly refreshing the 12306 site once installed; needless to say, this can put quite a load on the Railway Ministry’s servers.

Still though, as I pointed out yesterday, an easier way to fix this would be for the Ministry to build a better user experience on its own site so that people didn’t feel the need to turn to helper apps in the first place. The fact that there are dozens of these apps available is a sign that something isn’t working on the 12306 site, and that ought to be the Ministry’s first priority.

(via Sina Tech)


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