Thu, Feb 16, 2006 - Page 4 News List

China stands by Internet actions

AFP , BEIJING

China defended its Internet rules yesterday, saying it follows international norms, amid a furor over the actions of Google and other US Web giants in buckling to Chinese censorship pressure.

China is acting no differently to Western nations, whose criticisms smack of "double standards," argued Liu Zhengrong (劉正榮), deputy chief of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office, according to the China Daily.

"Regulating the Internet according to law is international practice," Liu was quoted as saying. "After studying Internet legislation in the West, I've found we basically have identical legislative objectives and principles."

Liu's remarks were among the most comprehensive responses yet made by the Chinese government to growing criticism of the way it cooperates with foreign technology companies to regulate people's access to the Internet in China.

"It is unfair and smacks of double standards when [foreigners] criticize China for deleting illegal and harmful messages, while it is legal for US Web sites to do so," he said.

Penalties imposed on Web sites carrying illegal and harmful information have been "lenient" in China, Liu was quoted as saying.

He said that no Web site had been shut down in the country for providing a few pieces of such information.

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