[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

China's new law intensifies online clampdown

Further hardening its cyberlaws, China's measures allow the government to delete and censor posts it deems "illegal".
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2012 18:19

China has unveiled tighter Internet controls, including legalising the deletion of posts or pages which are deemed to contain "illegal" information and requiring service providers to hand over such information to the authorities for punishment.

The rules suggest that the new leadership, headed by Communist Party chief Xi Jinping, will continue muzzling the often
scathing, raucous online chatter in a country where the Internet offers a rare opportunity for debate.

The new regulations, announced by the official Xinhua news agency on Friday, also require Internet users to register with their real names when signing up with network providers, though, in reality, this already happens.

Chinese authorities and Internet companies such as Sina Corp have long since closely monitored and censored what
people say online, but the government has now put measures such as deleting posts into law.

"Service providers are required to instantly stop the transmission of illegal information once it is spotted and take
relevant measures, including removing the information and saving records, before reporting to supervisory authorities," the rules state.

The restrictions follow a series of corruption scandals amongst lower-level officials exposed by Internet users,
something the government has said it is trying to encourage.

Extensive measures

Chinese Internet users already cope with extensive censorship measures, especially over politically sensitive
topics like human rights and elite politics, and popular foreign sites Facebook, Twitter and Google-owned YouTube
are blocked.

Earlier this year, the government began forcing users of Sina's wildly successful Weibo microblogging platform to
register their real names.

The new rules were quickly condemned by some Weibo users. "So now they are getting Weibo to help in keeping records and reporting it to authorities.

Is this the freedom of expression we are promised in the constitution?" complained one user.

"We should resolutely oppose such a covert means to interfere with Internet freedom," wrote another.

The government says tighter monitoring of the Internet is needed to prevent people making malicious and anonymous
accusations online, disseminating pornography and spreading panic with unfounded rumours, pointing out that many other countries already have such rules.

Despite periodic calls for political reform, the party has shown no sign of loosening its grip on power and brooks no
dissent to its authority.

353

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.