Nov 27 2007
March of 2000 witnessed the breakup of the Green Army, the organization that started the Chinese Red Hacker movement. In July, cooperation between controlling parties deteriorated and their commercial enterprise ended up in court with both parties suing. The legal battle also saw mutual hacking attacks against one another. In August, the legal case was decided in favor of the Beijing Green Alliance and Shen Jiye. The Shanghai Green Alliance, led by founder Goodwill, owed the Beijing faction 300,000 Yuan (approximately US $36,720) and was forced to turn over the domain isbase.com. Regarding the cause of the break-up, there are two versions of the story.
The first version is that Beijing Green Alliance was well along in commercialization and did not want to turn back to freelance hacking that was advocated by members of the Green Army of the Shanghai Green Alliance. Apparently, Goodwill wanted to be the first non-profit network security organization in China but others (probably Shen Jiye), saw it as a commercial venture. Eventually, the profit motive won out.
Another version of the break-up also involves finances. Goodwill and other key members saw themselves as the founders of the Green Army and therefore reasoned that they should have a greater share of the company. Shen Jiye argued that the organization was already commercialized and should follow the company’s principles of letting the capital decide. In an interview with People In Focus Weekly, Shen Jiye said:
“It was primarily because of individual profit. It’s because Goodwill was being too selfish. The degree of one’s reputation on the Internet can’t be the standard of one’s commercial value to the company.”
Zhou Shuai confirmed that the entire dispute was earnings driven and others involved said they felt that Goodwill was partially responsible for the break-up. Afterwards, the Green Army had many setbacks, lost their web site and dismissed all members. According to Zhou Shuai, the Green Army remains in existence but it is nothing more than a loose academic alliance.
The Green Army is one of the organizations that has managed to stand the test of time and moved toward more legitimate enterprises. Its offspring appears to be the computer security company NSfocus. While the name NSfocus is used in the English translation of the web site, the Chinese name Green Alliance still appears on the Chinese side. The company web site also maintains a list of all its founding members, which reads much like a Who’s Who of Chinese hackers.
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