STOP! You – away from the keyboard. There's no free speech in our China

Middle Kingdom ramps up ideological fight against non-reds under the bed

Chinese police officers will be installed within the country's largest internet companies to provide a response force in case of free speech crimes.

Notions that the blossoming Chinese internet technology scene might lead to a relaxing of the country's totalitarian censorship laws are faltering, following a recent announcement from Beijing.

The Ministry of Public Security, somewhat similar to Blighty's Home Office, announced it will install police officers within large technology companies to help with attempts to censor and crack down on subversive material.

Chen Zhimin, the venerable deputy minister of public security, announced his intention to establish "network security offices" in Chinese internet companies such as Tencent and Alibaba, reported the Financial Times [paywall].

He added that this will be done "in order to be able to find out about illegal internet activity more quickly".

Aiding the nation's already considerable surveillance activities, the move is being announced while legislation is produced in both China and America to deal with international cyber-conflicts.

A new Chinese cyber-security law, which requires companies to store user data in China, shares ideological roots with the British government's much-touted Investigatory Powers Bill, or Snoopers' Charter.

The FT notes that large internet companies such as Baidu must already "employ groups of censors to comb their online content for pornography and violence, as well as reactionary content including statements that denigrate the ruling Communist party."

Zhang Baichuan, a network security consultant, told the FT that "the logistics of stationing police inside the offices of internet companies would be difficult, and noted that the presence would only apply to large companies."

He did not believe the move was unachievable, stating: "If they are serious about implementing it, this could be accomplished within a month."

He added: "The aim is to shorten the reflex arc for police to respond to illegal behaviour." ®




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