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Anti-government use feared

Posted July. 27, 2000 15:45,   


The Chinese government implemented a policy of law Jan. 1 that censors the information carried through the Internet and places restrictions on Internet-access providers and users.

The official justification for the policy was the protection of national security. However, the underlying motive seems to be the restriction of anti-government movements through the Internet.

Under the law, anyone convicted of releasing state secrets would be punishable by death. It also states, "Anyone wanting to release information that has not been previously released publicly through the Chinese mass media first must obtain approval through the proper authorities."

Non-conformity to this regulation will result in a fine and the closure of the Web site.

Surfers fight back:

The backlash against censorship among Chinese Internet users has been fierce. In addition, with the ever-increasing number of people going online, the tidal wave of information going online has swamped the government¡¯s effort to inspect it all. So it appears as though the government`s censorship will drown in the sea of information.

According to the Chinese National Information Center the number of Internet users increased from 620,000 in 1997 to 8.9 million by the end of 1999, a 14-fold increase in two years.

A Web site operator who is currently facing a criminal charge for attempted subversive propaganda had been providing information for a year on the Tiananmen Square massacre and other articles on the infringement of human rights.

There seems to be no end in sight to the resistance by Internet users. With China`s scheduled entrance into the World Trade Organization this fall, the information-communication market is expected to explode in China. Observers are watching with keen interest at what changes will be wrought on the Chinese governmental system with the nation¡¯s entrance into the new information era.