Re: It still phones home
I agree with you with how they tend to stick to Chinese sites obviously b/c they are Chinese centric sites catered to their interest. However, I disagree that they aren't as advert ridden muck or worse than Western sites. OMG, my sister in law from mainland China would always run into trouble with labtop and I would sometimes help her with her computer. I swear 90 percent of her problems were malware b/c of the shaddy ads pasted everywhere on the mainstream Chinese websites she always frequents, the usual crap entertainment news and other stuff. You could find pirated stuff on the Chinese equivalent of Yahoo news posted prominently, so it is not surprising that the websites could care less if their third party ad company sneak malware into the ads.
Now she only uses Macs in part b/c of those issues. She generally avoids the websites that criticize the Chinese Government even in passing, it's just makes her uncomfortable even though the government had wronged her immediate family directly on more than one occasion(people in jail etc etc). Chinese expats can be pretty sensitive and nationalistic for the most part. I am not judging or really care, but meeting other Chinese students at the graduate level and you notice that her attitude politically is typical mainland for Chinese born and Western University educated elite you see at universities in the US. You really can't avoid observing it especially when something happens like the Beijing Olympics a while back.