China Issues Regulations To Control Internet

FEBRUARY 6, 1996 (NB) -- In an attempt to keep some control on its citizens use of the Internet, the People's Republic of China on Sunday issued a new set of regulations aimed at frightening people away from engaging in subversive activities, pornography and other forbidden actions on or via the international computer network. To ensure complete control, the government said all Internet links would run through its own computers and is also planning to extend the law to its territories, including Hong Kong.

The news was announced Sunday by way of Xinhua, the government's news agency, in a report headlined "China Improves Computer International Networking." The new regulations are part of the "Provisional Regulations for the Management of International Networking with Computer Information Networks of the People's Republic of China" and will serve to ensure "healthier development of the exchanges of international computer information" according to the news agency.

The regulations were originally approved at the 42nd meeting of the State Council on January 23 and were signed into law by China's Premier Li Peng on February 1st.

The main provision of the regulations is the requirement that all international links, with any computer network and not just the Internet, for both inward and outward traffic, should run through the channels provided by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT).

All existing networks are being forced into liquidation to emerge as managed networks of the MPT, the Ministry of Electronics Industry, the State Education Commission and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Specifically, new networks must satisfy four criteria, said Xinhua: they must have "legal person status," "corresponding computer information networks, equipment, technicians and management personnel," "perfect safety and security control systems and technical protection measures, " and conform to "other conditions conforming to relevant laws and regulations and relevant rules of the State Council."

The regulations forbid the use of networks for activities that will harm the state or its security and for "producing, retrieving, duplicating and spreading information that may hinder public order, and obscene and pornographic materials."

Persons ignoring the new regulations and attempting to operate international links outside of the MPT's lines will not be tolerated, warned Xinhua, "Those who violate the regulations or relevant laws and rules will be severely dealt with."

On January 16th the government moved to require all foreign news agencies selling to China to submit all stories to Xinhua for approval before dissemination.

China currently offers Internet access to individuals via ChinaNet via its two points of presence in Beijing and Shanghai. Reports suggest between 3,000 and 4,000 people currently have access via ChinaNet. The network is also looking to expand to all of China' s major cities soon. Educational establishments can use CASnet, the Chinese Academic Network.

--Martyn Williams

Copyright © 1996 Newsbytes News Network.

Chinese Author, Activist Detained in Internet Crackdown

DECEMBER 19, 2002 (AP) -- BEIJING -- An author whose banned writings about China's poor appeared on activist Web sites abroad has been detained in a crackdown on Internet-based dissent, a labor rights group said Thursday.

Liao Yiwu, a 42-year-old novelist and poet, was detained Wednesday by police in the southwestern city of Chengdu, New York-based China Labor Watch said in a faxed statement. Chengdu police referred questions to their press office, where phone calls weren't answered Thursday.

China promotes Internet use for business and education, and has tens of millions of people online, but is trying to stamp out its use to spread criticism of communist rule. Human rights groups say at least 36 people -- including Liao -- have been detained in the current crackdown.

Enduring poverty for hundreds of millions of Chinese is an especially sensitive issue. The government worries about anything that might stir growing public anger at the gap between the poor and the small urban elite who benefit most from economic reform. Liao's articles about the poor are banned in China but have been published abroad by literary magazines and political Web sites, China Labor Watch said. "He is the only writer who is concerned with the lowest stratum of China's masses," the group said.

Copyright © 2002 Associated Press.

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