Tuesday, November 3, 2009

China police chief urges harsher Internet controls

BEIJING — China's police chief has called for a reinforced nationwide Internet security system, in the nation's latest effort to oversee the activities of the world's largest online population.

"The Internet is developing quickly, there are many loopholes in social management, and maintaining social stability faces unprecedented new challenges," public security minister Meng Jianzhu said in rare public remarks.

"One must... actively establish... a comprehensive prevention and control social security system that covers the Internet and the real world," he said in a speech published on the ministry website Monday.

Internet use has expanded at a dizzying pace in China, which now has the world's largest online population of at least 338 million users.

In a bid to maintain control, authorities regularly censor Internet content they deem unhealthy including pornography and violence, but also information critical of the government -- a system dubbed the "Great Firewall of China."

But many online users get around the system by using proxy servers that allow them to access blocked sites.

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