Guangdong Weekly Reports on How Chinese Authorities Have "United to Purify the Internet"

September 2, 2005

An article in the August 18 edition of Guangdong's Southern Weekend offers the following perspective on how the Chinese government administers the Internet:

An article in the August 18 edition of Guangdong's Southern Weekend offers the following perspective on how the Chinese government administers the Internet:

From 1996 until now, fourteen agencies, including the Central Propaganda Department, State Council Information Office, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Culture, and the General Administration of Press and Publication have participated in the administration of the Internet, have promulgated nearly 50 laws and regulations, and have put together the world's most extensive and comprehensive regulatory system for Internet administration. One scholar who specializes in researching Internet Law [said] our country's degree of emphasis on, and effectiveness of administration over, the problem of Internet security is "rare in this world."

The article, which focuses on the current controversy in China regarding the government increasingly requiring Chinese citizens to register their real names when utilizing Web sites, news groups, messaging services, and games on the Internet, also discusses the background on the government's recently-concluded crackdown on private Web sites (what it refers to as "a sweeping nationwide Internet Web site registration project"):

  • The crackdown actually began in July of last year, when authorities launched a "special project" to shut down pornographic Web sites.
  • In November, after the Party issued a document calling for "increasing work on the administration of the Internet," the 14 departments "carried out a large-scale clean up and reorganization of the Internet, and this activity has continued until today." The People's Daily, Xinhua, and Party officials have provided indications of the nature of that Party document.
  • Huang Chengqing, the head of the Internet Society of China, told the author of the article that "there have been rules for non-commercial Web site registration for some time now," referring to Measures for the Administration of Internet Information Services, but that "for various reasons, it has not been strictly implemented."
  • As of July 7, registration work has been entirely completed.
  • Local regulators throughout China have shut down a large number of Web sites, utilizing specialized software to render them inaccessible, and the relevant Internet addresses have been published on the Web sites of communication administration offices throughout the country.
  • In August, authorities will publish a summary of the results of the registration work.

The article also points out that, in addition to requiring civil registration under the MII, China's government is preparing to deploy law enforcement authorities to crack down on private Web sites:

Another large clean up and reorganization action has been an inspection of the Internet during the first half of this year by Internet police in all areas, which has been the first nationwide Internet inspection in the 10-year development of the Internet. The relevant provisions of our country's Measures for the Administration of Security Protection of Computer Information Networks with International Interconnections stipulate that all Web sites must undertake registration procedures with their local public security bureau within 30 days of opening. . . . [P]ublic security bureaus throughout the country are currently conducting extensive screening of small and medium Web sites that have not registered.

China's official news media reports that public security officials have already begun to crack down on unregistered private Web sites in Beijing, Guangzhou, and Qingdao.