Mon, Dec 25, 2017 - Page 5 News List

China shuts over 13,000 Web sites

Reuters, BEIJING

China has closed more than 13,000 Web sites since the beginning of 2015 for breaking the law or other rules and the vast majority of people support government efforts to clean up cyberspace, state news agency Xinhua said yesterday.

The Chinese government has stepped up already tight controls over the Internet since President Xi Jinping (習近平) took power five years ago, in what critics have said is an effort to restrict freedom of speech and prevent criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.

The Chinese government has said all countries regulate the Internet, and its rules are aimed at ensuring national security and social stability, and preventing the spread of pornography and violent content.

A report to the ongoing session of the Standing Committee of China’s largely rubber-stamp National People’s Congress said the authorities had targeted pornography and violence in their sweeps of Web sites, blogs and social media accounts, Xinhua said.

Almost 10 million accounts had also been closed by Web sites, it added.

It did not give details, but the accounts were likely on social media platforms.

“Internet security concerns the party’s long-term hold on power, the country’s long-term peace and stability, socioeconomic development and the people’s personal interests,” Xinhua said.

More than 90 percent of people surveyed supported government efforts to manage the Internet, with 63.5 percent of them believing that in recent years there has been an obvious reduction in harmful online content, it added.

“These moves have a powerful deterrent effect,” Committee Vice Chairman Wang Shengjun (王勝俊) told lawmakers, Xinhua reported.

Authorities, including the Cyberspace Administration of China, have summoned more than 2,200 Web site operators for talks during the same period, he said.

Separately, Xinhua said that over the past five years, more than 10 million people who refused to register using their real names had had Internet or other telecoms accounts suspended.

China in June ushered in a tough cybersecurity law, following years of fierce debate around the controversial legislation that many foreign business groups fear will hit their ability to operate in the country.

China maintains a strict censorship regime, banning access to many foreign news outlets, search engines and social media including Google and Facebook.

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