Policing China's Firewall

  • Share
  • Read Later
BEIJING: The Chinese government is requiring all Internet users and companies marketing Internet services to register with the police. Mailed warnings from the Beijing Police Public Security Bureau announce all individuals using the Internet must register with a special police section of Computer Security Supervision, and include their email addresses, presumably for monitoring purposes. The rules, which are taking effect as these notices surface, require each Chinese registering to sign a pledge agreeing to abide by Chinese law and respect state security. Users are also required to pay a 400 yuan (about $50) registration fee, and pay 100 yuan a month for six hours online time. The fee, close to a month's salary many urban Chinese, could stop many from logging on. The country's some 100,000 Internet users are already barred from newsgroups containing 'undesirable' material such as government human rights violations and pornography. "This is the latest move to try to control the Internet," says TIME's Beijing Bureau Chief, Jaime Florcruz. "It dawned on the Chinese government that new ideas from overseas were leaking into the psyche of the Chinese people. It's still unclear how they will block the flow of information, especially when the government has such need for it, itself. Its a losing battle, especially in the provinces. If the Party cadres there want Internet access, or satellite TV, Beijing will have a hard time curbing them."