(Fwd) China says provinces setting up Internet police

From lsi <lsi@lsi.clara.net>
Date Thu, 10 Aug 2000 15:30:16 +0100

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Saturday August 5, 3:52 AM

China says provinces setting up Internet police

BEIJING (Reuters) - At least 20 provinces and cities are moving to 
up special Internet police to "administrate and maintain order" on
China's fast-growing computer networks, the official Xinhua news
agency said.

China's pioneer Internet police force, set up recently in the eastern
province of Anhui, has dealt with "criminal cases, such as cheating,
property embezzlement and pornography", it said.

Anhui's Internet Police had also publicised information about 
viruses and worked to develop Internet filter programmes for young

Internet cops had helped local banks identify and close loopholes in
their electronic information networks and trained volunteer
"electronic security guards", the report said.

Internet crime and fraud has climbed the list of China's concerns as
its online population spirals, propelled by a surge in computer sales
and an incremental drop in telephone and Internet access fees.
Security concerns also stifle e-commerce.

The number of Internet users in China nearly doubled to 17 million in
the first half of this year, the China National Network Information
Centre (CNNIC) said last month.

The Xinhua report did not refer to policing political content on the
Internet, perhaps the chief worry of Communist authorities amid
China's headlong rush into the digital age.

China routinely blocks Web sites of Western media outlets, human
rights groups, Tibetan exiles and other sources of information it
deems politically sensitive or harmful.

Stung by the spread of reports from unfettered Hong Kong media 
domestic politics and corruption scandals, Beijing also forbids
increasingly popular local portals from posting news reports from
sources other than state-controlled media.

In the country's top case, Huang Qi, a man from Sichuan who 
information on the Internet about the 1989 military crackdown at
Tiananmen Square faces trial for subversion.

Huang could face life in prison if convicted on charges of "subverting
state power", the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human 
& Democracy said.

He angered authorities by operating a Web site, www.6-
which published information on human rights and corruption in 
including the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen killings in which hundreds of
unarmed civilians were shot.

In March 1998 the government jailed Shanghai entrepreneur Lin Hai 
furnishing 30,000 Chinese e-mail addresses to an overseas 
dissident newsletter. He was released in September last year.

Members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual group have also been
arrested for using the Internet to spread information about their
faith and about government efforts to crush the movement.


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