China defends Internet censorship

By Derek Sooman on February 14, 2006, 4:02 PM
The Chinese government has defended its stance on censoring Internet content, claiming that the United States and European countries do the same thing all the time. Liu Zhengrong, a senior Chinese official responsible for managing the Internet, attempted to put the Chinese efforts to control the Web in the best possible light. He claims that Chinese Internet minders abide strictly by laws and regulations that in some cases have been modelled on American and European statutes, claiming that China is basically in compliance with the international norm.

Human rights and media watchdog groups maintain that Chinese Web censorship puts greater emphasis on helping the ruling party maintain political control over its increasingly restive society. Such groups have demonstrated that many hundreds of Web sites cannot be easily accessed inside mainland China mainly because they are operated by governments, religious groups or political organizations that are critical of Chinese government policies or its political leaders.

Liu said that Chinese Internet users have free rein to discuss many politically sensitive topics and rejected charges that the police have arrested or prosecuted people for using the Internet to circulate views.

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