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Friday, January 01, 2010

China Vows Tougher Crackdown On Web Offenders In 2010

In 2009, Chinese authorities arrested over 5,000 of its citizens for violations of Internet pornography laws — a number that could be much higher in 2010 as the government promises to come down even harder on Web offenders as part of its beefed-up “state security” plan.

According to official figures, China’s ministry of public security arrested nearly 5,400 people and shut down some 9,000 pornography-related websites last year, though it did not disclose how many of those arrests resulted in prosecutions.

Insiders say that such moves are just one part of the government’s multi-pronged strategy of fulfilling their resolution to “strengthen punishment for Internet operators that violate the laws and regulations [and] severely punish operations that have serious problems with harmful information.”

As use and availability of Internet access has exploded in recent years with the rise of China’s growing middle class, the government has found itself engaged in a sort of innovation arms-race with an increasingly computer-savvy population intent on avoiding government censorship.

Like all authoritarian regimes, Chinese autocrats are concerned over the dissemination of information that could potentially undermine their regime — which they propagandistically label as harmful to “society.”

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