China's online population passes 400 million: state media

May 1, 2010
An Internet cafe in Beijing. The number of Internet users in China, already the largest in the world, has surpassed 400 million and accounts for almost a third of the country's population, state media reported.

The number of Internet users in China, already the largest in the world, has surpassed 400 million and accounts for almost a third of the country's population, state media reported Saturday.

The online population in the world's most populous nation has reached 404 million, the official Xinhua news agency said, citing the State Council Information Office.

That compares with 384 million users at the end of 2009.

Users accessing the Internet with mobile phones was steady at 233 million while the number of people with broadband access reached 346 million, the report said.

China's spiralling online population has turned the Internet into a forum for citizens to express their opinions in a way rarely seen in a country where the traditional media is under strict government control.

The growing strength and influence of the web population has prompted concern in about the Internet's potential as a tool for generating social unrest, and authorities have stepped up surveillance in recent years.

The government blocks that it deems politically sensitive in a vast system dubbed the "Great of ".

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gwrede
3.7 / 5 (3) May 01, 2010
What can I say. I'm all for liberty of speech, and in the Nordic Countries we've traditionally enjoyed a level of liberty of speech that makes even the U.S. look like a banana republic.

Still, when thinking of China, I actually think they must have this Great Firewall. Exposing politically naive and poorly educated masses to the sudden and unprecedented influence of demagogues and populists, and even deliberate mayhem makers, is a sure recipe for unrest and disaster.

Probably within a generation they will slowly grow out of this censorship need. But today, it's a must. I think it is both insensitive and childish of various civil rights groups and America to harass China on this one. We in the West don't need a Civil War in China!

Remember, already they've turned an elephant on a dime, from Communism, without a civil war. Give them some slack, please.

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