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Chinese military banned from blogging

No online romance either for PLA personnel

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China has issued an edict banning its 2.3 million military personnel from blogging or creating homepages or websites, AP reports.

The new rules came into force on 15 June, as part of a People's Liberation Army Internal Affairs Regulation.

Wan Long, a PLA political commissar, told Xinhua news agency: "Soldiers cannot open blogs on the internet no matter [whether] he or she does it in the capacity of a soldier or not."

Wan reportedly expressed concerns about "confidentiality", adding: "The internet is complicated and we should guard against online traps."

An anonymous retired senior colonel told unnamed Hong Kong media: "The divulgence of military secrets by PLA soldiers through the internet has been very serious over the past few years, mostly focused on information about weapons."

Also off the menu for PLA members are "seeking partners, hunting for jobs or making friends online".

Xinhua explains: "A 32-year-old single soldier in Tibet received letters from more than 30 girls after his family posted a profile of him online to help him find a girlfriend. At the time, he was unaware of the hidden risks posed by the internet."

Quite how the poor chap potentially threatened state security is not noted, but Yang Jigui, commander of the Xigaze military sub-command in Tibet, said: "People with ulterior motives may make use of the soldiers' personal information and pose a threat to the safety of the army."

Moved by the plight of far-flung soldiers with "few opportunities to make contact with the outside world", the sub-command "held a meeting to discuss the problem of unmarried soldiers and requested some of its units to help them find partners via local civil affairs departments and the women's federation". ®

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