Feeds

China sidesteps Great Firewall with web roadmap

They fluffing love it

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The Chinese government has issued a white paper laying out current, and future, internet policy - and you might not recognise its view of internet use in that country.

There is little talk of the Great Firewall and much of social responsibility and the benefits internet access can bring to citizens, and to government. Although the paper explicitly guarantees freedom of speech online, it is freedom with limits.

The paper claims: "Chinese citizens fully enjoy freedom of speech on the Internet. The Constitution of the People's Republic of China confers on Chinese citizens the right to free speech. With their right to freedom of speech on the Internet protected by the law, they can voice their opinions in various ways on the Internet.

"Vigorous online ideas exchange is a major characteristic of China's Internet development, and the huge quantity of BBS posts and blog articles is far beyond that of any other country."

But the limits to this freedom would cover almost everything. The paper warns: "Citizens are not allowed to infringe upon state, social and collective interests or the legitimate freedom and rights of other citizens. No organization or individual may utilize telecommunication networks to engage in activities that jeopardize state security, the public interest or the legitimate rights and interests of other people."

And that's not all. There are separate laws against disseminating vulgar or pornographic material, anything that may subvert state power, undermine national unity, infringe upon national honour, advocating heresy and spreading information that infringes upon the legitimate rights and interests of others. Gambling, propagating heretical or superstitious ideas, spreading rumours and disrupting social order are also banned.

China has over a million bulletin boards and 220 million bloggers - over 80 per cent of websites offer some kind of bulletin board or reader comment system. Every day some three million messages are posted on such boards or blogs. The Chinese government believes this online debate is far in advance of any other country.

Far from being at the forefront of using the internet for spying on its citizens the paper assures us that the People's Republic is a protector of online privacy.

The document says: "The protection of online privacy is closely connected with people's sense of security and confidence in the Internet. The Chinese Government proactively promotes the improvement of relevant legislation... in order to steadily enhance online privacy protection systems."

The white paper notes that a third of China's 384 million netizens are minors, and that protecting them remains a priority. Laws to protect them include a ban on "overindulging on the Internet" and promotes the "Mothers' Education Programme" to further protect kids.

The paper also notes that there are big regional differences. Eastern China has 40 per cent of its population online versus just 21.5 per cent in the west of the country. The People's Republic claims to have spent 4.3 trillion yuan on its network between 1997 and 2009.

This includes 8.627 million miles of fibre-optic network. China's 3G network covers the whole country. Of all internet users in China - 346 million use broadband and 233 million use mobile phones to access the net.

The full paper is available from here. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
Redmond resists order to hand over overseas email
Court wanted peek as related to US investigation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.