China seeks to 'purify' internet

President calls for "healthy online culture" as number of web users soars.

    Hu says the government must promote civilised running and use of the internet [AP]

    "Whether we can cope with the internet is a matter that affects the development of socialist culture, the security of information, and the stability of the state"

    Hu Jintao
    Chinese president

    But he made it clear that Chinese internet regulators should work to ensure that they keep control of China's internet users.
     
    The party has to "use advanced technologies to better guide public opinions" and "promote online products that can represent the grand Chinese culture", Xinhua quoted Hu as saying.
     
    Hu’s comments came a day after official data showed the number of Chinese using the internet grew by 26 million, or 23.4 per cent, in 2006, to reach 10.5 per cent of the total population.
     
    According to the China Internet Network Information Centre, which compiled the figures, that puts China on track to overtake the US as world’s most online population within the next two years.
     
    Restrictions
     
    The Chinese government is eager to promote internet use for educational and business potential, but tries to block the public from material deemed subversive or obscene.
     
    As a result, the vast majority of Chinese users have no access to overseas Chinese web sites offering uncensored opinion or news critical of the ruling party.
     
    Sites that cover, for example, the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, democracy, free speech or Taiwan are blocked, as are pornographic sites and others which are considered unsuitable.
     
    Foreign companies such as Google and Yahoo!, have been criticised for co-operating with the Chinese government in its efforts to censor the web, including agreeing to have internal content monitors.
     
    But despite heavy monitoring news of official misdeeds and dissident opinion has been able to travel through online bulletin boards and blogs.
     
    In his comments to the politburo Hu told officials to intensify control even as they seek to release the internet's economic potential.
     
    "Ensure that one hand grasps development while one hand grasps administration," he said.
     
    "Whether we can cope with the internet is a matter that affects the development of socialist culture, the security of information, and the stability of the state."

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    Survivor stories from Super Typhoon Haiyan

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    We Are Still Here: A Story from Native Alaska

    From Qatar to Alaska, a personal journey exploring what it means to belong when your culture is endangered.