In Comunist China… Internet surfs you

China monitors Internet content

by Bianca Brais

After denying their involvement in a global internet spy ring, the Chinese government has been caught  forming a new bureau monitoring Internet and censoring social networking sites.

“[It’s expected] to help police and social networking sites and other user-driven forums on the Internet, which are proving harder for the government to monitor and control than ordinary news portals,” Jonathan Ansfield, a New York Times reporter said.

The People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the censorship systems have implemented more than 60 Internet regulations and laws to reinforce bans in order to control what people are doing on the Web. It started off as censoring critical political or religious content. It has now expanded and Chinese officials consider social networking systems, micro blogging and video-sharing as a major threat, The Globe and Mail reporter Grant Robertson explained.

“We are firmly opposed to various kinds of hacking activities through the Internet,” Jiang Yu, a spokeswoman for China’s Foreign Ministry, told The Globe and Mail. Also, China doesn’t seem to be against censoring social networking sites.

Internet websites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have been denied access and blocked from the Chinese domaine.

Any “Chinese look-alike” websites have been suspended over information they judge subversive, Ansfield reported. “China has promoted the use of local alternatives on sites like Sina.com, QQ.com, and the website of the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily, which are more cooperative with official mandates to filter the Web.”

The Chinese government blocks website content and monitors the Internet access of individuals due to a series of large anti-Japenese, anti-pollution and anti-corruption protests. Over 30, 000 “Internet policemen” are estimated to be monitoring for any critical comment that appears on Internet forums or blogs  and will erase any of them within minutes. The tools being used by the PRC are considered more extensive and more advanced than in any other country.

“The authorities are retooling their media apparatus to deepen their leverage over the Web, and regulators are jostling for the growing power and privilege at stake,” Ansfield said. Instead of solely censoring Internet sites, the new Chinese agency called the Internet news coordination bureau tries to monitor the communication of Chinese Web users in a more secret way.

“Both the new and pre-existing bureaus are under the auspices of the State Council Information Office, which acts as a leading daily enforcer over news-related content on the Web,” a New York Times reporter explained.

“So just from the viewpoint of personnel, you can see that the government is putting more and more emphasis on managing the Internet,” the New York Times reported about an editor at an official media organization, who requested anonymity.

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