News blog: The future of China’s Internet — freedom or not?

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by Lok Yi Chan

China urges stricter control over social media websites, according to a communique reported by Xinhua News Agency, the official news organization for Communist Party of China.

Bloomberg reported today that China “will supervise the world’s biggest online community more closely, promote ‘constructive’ websites and punish and spread of ‘harmful information,’” after the Communisty Party’s Central Committee meeting ended last week.

This means China will impose stricter censorship on various social medias, particularly the microblog services—Weibo—which have become popular in China for spreading opinions and news, as well as QQ’s instant-messaging service, TV and arts, Bloomberg says.

Wall Street Journal reported that the efforts aim at “promot[ing] Communist Party ideals, continuing a broad effort to increase government involvement and tighten the reins on the nation’s fast-growing, largely private Internet sector.”

Xinhua reported last month that as of 2011, there are 195 million of Weibo users, according to the latest data from the China Internet Network Information Center.

Ironically enough, in an article titled “How Does Internet ‘Warm Up’ Democratic Politics?” published in March, People’s Daily Online, the official newspaper for the Chinese Communist Party, reported that “by interacting with the masses of Internet users, NPC deputies and CPPCC members could give scope to a far better role of the Internet, so that China’s democratic politics would be sure to advance continuously.”

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