China web firms vow to curb 'harmful' information

Nov 06, 2011 by Allison Jackson
File photo shows motorists passing outside Baidu's headoffice in Beijing. The heads of China's largest Internet and technology firms have vowed to stop the "spread of harmful information" on the web after attending a three-day government workshop, state media said Sunday.

The heads of China's largest Internet and technology firms have vowed to stop the "spread of harmful information" on the web after attending a three-day government workshop, state media said Sunday.

Nearly 40 companies, including e-commerce giant Alibaba, online portal Sina and search engine attended the seminar hosted by the State Internet Information Office, an online watchdog, the official Xinhua news agency said.

During the discussion, which ended Saturday, the bosses reached a "common agreement" to "safeguard" the spreading of positive information online and "strengthen self-management and self-discipline", the report said.

They also agreed to "resolutely curb Internet rumours, , and the illegal spread of harmful information" to develop the web into a "positive and beautiful spiritual home".

Industry and information technology minister Miao Wei also ordered Internet companies to increase their investment in "tracking surveillance" -- reflecting growing anxiety among top leaders over the increasing influence of the web.

The pledge by the private and state-owned companies backs efforts by the government to tighten its grip on the fast-growing Internet sector, which has become a platform for citizens to express their opinions and frustrations.

China's Communist leaders last month ordered stricter control of such as Chinese versions of and and a crackdown on "vulgar" material on the web.

Communist Party chiefs made the call in a list of "cultural development guidelines", which analysts said were designed to strengthen the government's control of the web and make state-run media more competitive.

The growing popularity of privately owned social networking sites in a country with more than 500 million people online has alarmed Beijing, as more and more web users take to the Internet to vent their anger.

China has repeatedly vowed to clamp down on Internet "rumours" -- often used as code for criticism of the government -- and Beijing said last month that police had begun to detain and punish people for spreading rumours online.

Authorities have also been reining in television entertainment, replacing popular shows with so-called "healthy" programming.

For the past decade Beijing has been encouraging state-run media to be more competitive and less reliant on state subsidies, which has led to more critical reporting and racier programming as outlets compete for readers and viewers.

But the trend towards more free-wheeling reporting has undermined official efforts to control public opinion and unnerved authorities who have seen previously obedient media outlets criticise their decisions.

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User comments : 14

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epsi00
2 / 5 (4) Nov 06, 2011
Harmful information? I guess it does not include state propaganda. China should follow the example set by the West where information flows freely and people are still misinformed because something happens to it between the source and the consumer.
Norezar
3 / 5 (6) Nov 06, 2011
Communist or not, at least the Chinese government has a spine, and takes real interest in it's countries stability and development.

Unlike some other first world governments.
epsi00
2 / 5 (4) Nov 06, 2011
Really? a government that treats its own people like little kids who can't choose what's good for them. All governments control their people, some do it the smart way and some do it the authoritarian way, like China.
Nerdyguy
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2011
"They also agreed to "resolutely curb Internet rumours, Internet pornography, Internet fraud and the illegal spread of harmful information" to develop the web into a "positive and beautiful spiritual home"."

Make no mistake, they threw porn in there because without it the list looked suspiciously like "we want to control your every thought and action". Sounds a little better if you throw porn in there. Because, of course, we all know porn is soooo bad for you. *rolls eyes
Husky
not rated yet Nov 06, 2011
probably one of those offers that you cant refuse
Nerdyguy
2.7 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2011
Communist or not, at least the Chinese government has a spine, and takes real interest in it's countries stability and development.

Unlike some other first world governments.


So, you are proposing that a totalitarian worldview is consistent with 21st-century humanity's needs?
ShotmanMaslo
3 / 5 (2) Nov 06, 2011
Communist or not, at least the Chinese government has a spine, and takes real interest in it's countries stability and development.

Unlike some other first world governments.


While I am a staunch opponent of internet censorship, I can agree with this assessment. Overall, chinese government does a very good job.
Nerdyguy
2 / 5 (1) Nov 06, 2011
Communist or not, at least the Chinese government has a spine, and takes real interest in it's countries stability and development.

Unlike some other first world governments.


While I am a staunch opponent of internet censorship, I can agree with this assessment. Overall, chinese government does a very good job.


Does a good job of what precisely? And how do you define "good job"?

They have a rapidly growing economy. That's a plus.

But, they get a fair amount of criticism for:

1) Inattention to human rights.
2) Censorhip.
3) Government dictate on family planning. Or: you will have precisely the number of kids we say.
4) Lack of any democratic reform, despite converting to a capitalist economy.
5) Jailing and widespread abuse of political dissenters.
6) Inattention to regulations aimed at protecting the environment.
7) Outright disdain for regulations aimed at protecting citizen's health.

So, would these be some of the things they are doing well?
ShotmanMaslo
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2011
1) Inattention to human rights.


There are issues. But compared to other developing countries on a similar level, Id say they are more than adequate.

2) Censorhip.


Yep, this is an issue.

3) Government dictate on family planning. Or: you will have precisely the number of kids we say.


I consider this a great policy that does not breach any human rights and should be implemented in all third world.

They are surely not perfect, but overall, its one of the best governments on this planet among developing nations, IMHO.
Nerdyguy
1 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2011
@shotmanmaslo:

Consider my mind to be blown. I do believe I just read your post claiming that China's human rights efforts are "more than adequate".

Of course, I've no way of knowing where you are from or what type of system you live under.

But, as an American, I can only view your comments as willful delusion. The totalitarian communist regime that began with Mao is a plague on the human race. It's destroyed lives, property, fundamental human rights, and freedom beyond anything other totalitarian regimes have even dreamed of.

Recent improvements do not equate to "forgiveness" for an unapologetic history of trampling on the rights of more than a billion humans.

To use the term "best governments" in regards to the corrupt Chinese regime is similar to describing Gadafi's Libyan regime as "forward-thinking" and "progressive".
Nerdyguy
1.3 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2011
@shotmanmaslo:

RE: government dictate on family planning.

Judging from your other comments praising the corrupt Chinese regime, I supposed I shouldn't be surprised that you worshipfully admire the one-child per family dictate.

However, I do believe your comments suggesting said policy is a "great policy that does not breach any human rights and should be implemented in all third world." deserves some rebuttal.

First, any time a brutal totalitarian regime mandates the birthing choices of all its citizens, with no ability for said citizens to dispute the policy, or to change it in any way, nor to even leave the country under most circumstances, YES that regime IS trampling on basic human rights.

Second, I find it interesting that, in your enlightened judgment, you would force this policy on what you call the "third world" but not on the rest of us. Perhaps it's a program that's not good for you personally, but others should suffer from its effects?

ShotmanMaslo
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 06, 2011
Of course, I've no way of knowing where you are from or what type of system you live under.


Post-communistic democratic country.

Recent improvements do not equate to "forgiveness" for an unapologetic history of trampling on the rights of more than a billion humans.


My judgement was aimed at modern Chinese government, after the death of Mao and the reforms in the 80s. It was a lot worse before.

Second, I find it interesting that, in your enlightened judgment, you would force this policy on what you call the "third world" but not on the rest of us. Perhaps it's a program that's not good for you personally, but others should suffer from its effects?


We do not have unsustainable 1.3 billion people and our population is already destined to diminish. But yes, I would support it even here, if needed, even if it would apply to myself. I am no hypocrite.
_nigmatic10
not rated yet Nov 07, 2011
All governments take an interest in making sure its country does good. I believe it has something to do with "self preservation".

Currently , the world powers worth any note , share and aspire to their goals in obtaining more stability and power over both the governed and other countries. The methodology and tactics are the only thing that varies. The end result is all that matters, of course. This article talks about internet censorship, yet with no regard to at least admitting it, the us spends billions annually on all forms of propaganda, which includes censorship's.
kochevnik
1 / 5 (1) Nov 13, 2011
China is afraid the animal farm will break down.
Nation states are archaic livestock ranches for debt slaves. With zero point energy generators, 3D printers and replication technology, the net, a militia, a land patent and a sovereign currency not hobbled by Zionist banksters people will regain the freedom their forefathers once enjoyed.

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