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Freedom of expression on Internet guaranteed

[ 2010-06-09 14:14]     字号 [] [] []  
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The government is striving to strike a balance between ensuring the free flow of online information and protecting national security and public interest, according to China's first ever white paper on the Internet released on Tuesday.

It "guarantees the citizens' freedom of speech on the Internet as well as the public's right to know, to participate, to be heard, and to oversee (the government) in accordance with the law", the paper says.

The Internet has an "irreplaceable role in accelerating the development of the national economy" and will continue to impact daily work, education and lifestyles, the paper says.

There were 384 million Internet users in the country at the end of 2009, about 29 percent of the population. The government aims to boost that to 45 percent in the next five years by pushing into rural areas where there is a "digital gap".

There are over 1 million BBSs and some 220 million bloggers, and more than two-thirds frequently place postings to "fully express their opinion", the paper says.

Newly-emerging online services, including blogging, microblogging, video-sharing and social networking websites, are developing rapidly, and provide greater convenience to users, it says.

The paper, however, stresses that the government cannot ignore Internet security.

"Effectively protecting Internet security is an important part of China's Internet administration, and an indispensable requirement for protecting State security and the public interest," the paper says.

The 31-page document does not give examples of what content will be banned, only saying that Chinese law prohibits the spread of "contents subverting State power, undermining national unity, infringing upon national honor and interests, inciting ethnic hatred and secession" as well as such things as pornography and terrorism.

"The white paper will help increase the transparency of China's Internet regulation," said Hu Yanping, head of Data Center of China Internet, an independent Internet data provider.

It also touches for the first time on the idea of "Internet sovereignty", to explain the government's requirement that foreign IT companies operating in the country have to abide by Chinese law.


(中国日报网英语点津 Julie 编辑)

Freedom of expression on Internet guaranteed

About the broadcaster:

Freedom of expression on Internet guaranteed

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.