November 30, 2013
Chinese Officials Claim Strict Regulations Have Made The Internet ‘Clean’
redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online
China’s sophisticated online censorship system, known internationally as the Great Firewall, has been tremendously successful at “cleaning” the Internet, according to comments made by State Internet Information Office vice minister Ren Xianliang on Thursday.
“The fight against rumors has received a positive response and has been quite effective,” Ren said during a rare public appearance, according to Reuters reporter Megha Rajagopalan. “The Internet has become clean. The frequency of slander has declined, but it has not impacted the orderly flow of information.”
China blocks Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other social media and file-sharing websites, as well as the homepages of some foreign media organizations, human rights groups and websites hosted in Taiwan, Rajagopalan said. Many international officials argue the country is attempting to eliminate free speech and silence anti-government discussion, and some more vocal bloggers have allegedly been targeted for their political posts.
Ren, however, “emphasized China's commitment to scrubbing the web of content it deemed critical or offensive,” Reuters said, adding while “social media has become a platform for users to voice complaints and criticism about the government,” domestic Internet companies are forced to delete content considered “too politically sensitive.”
Ren also said the Chinese government would be working with local Internet regulators and companies in order to strengthen online regulations, and that they planned to watch search engines and blogs more closely.
“We will meet the demands of the people to create a cyberspace with Chinese characteristics,” he said. “Some websites propagating material on Tibet and Xinjiang aim to split our nation, or try to subvert the power of the state. This runs counter to China's laws and regulations.”
The Chinese government’s efforts to censor the Internet date back to at least last July, when the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) announced new regulations requiring Internet video providers to prescreen every video before posting it online. Regulators added they expected content providers to self-censor their movies, removing any material found to be inappropriate.
Last December, Beijing officials passed a new law requiring residents to register their real names when signing up for Internet and telephone services, a move experts claimed was designed to strengthen the regime’s control over the millions of Chinese web users. The law also blocked access to gambling websites, websites with pornographic content and those that contain content critical of the country’s government.