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Cyberspace regulator meets the press
Updated: 2006-02-17 19:45

 Beijing Review: Could you please introduce the Chinese government's principles of Internet development and administration in detail?

Liu: I can generalize our basic attitude toward the Internet in two phrases. The first one is to actively boost the development of the Internet, while the other is to administrate it according to law. We abide by the following basic principles:

First, we regulate the Internet according to law and has made necessary legislation. Pay attention to my expression "necessary legislation." Necessary legislation is to respect the law of Internet development and boost its development as well.

Second, let the Internet industry circles solve their problems wherever possible, but moderate administration measures from government departments are also needed to foster its development. That is to say, Internet administration should facilitate its development.

Third, let market forces lead the application of Internet technologies. Our administration should not hinder the development of Internet technology. This shows that we have fully realized the advancement of the Internet.

Fourth, let the public play a role in administrating the Internet wherever possible.

Straits Times: Some Chinese Internet users were arrested for publishing critical articles on Yahoo.com, so I want to know how the Ministry of Public Security gets their information from Yahoo Inc. Does it issue an order or directly ask staff members of Yahoo for information? What I want to know essentially is how the Chinese government gets Internet service providers (ISPs), foreign ISPs in particular, to disclose such information.

Liu: So far, no one has been arrested in China for publishing articles on the Internet. As for what acts attract criminal liability, the Resolution of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on Internet Safety has already given a clear description.

As I have just stressed, all companies must abide by Chinese laws within China. China is a country administrated in accordance with the law. Thus, related law enforcement departments and law enforcement officers will do their duty according to the law.

I have more to add even if what I am about to say might not be relevant to your questions. It would be baffling if police or law enforcement departments to turn a blind eye to violations on the Internet. According to studies, the US has done well in this respect. As far as I know, the USA Patriot Act promulgated in 2001 has detailed provisions on how law enforcement agencies can get citizens' personal information and communications situation. I once saw a Reuter's report, which claimed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had adopted an e-mail collection system named "Carnivore." It was later renamed dsc1000. It is said that millions of e-mail can be collected per second through the system. What I want to say is that the law enforcement departments of every nation will pay attention to the spread of illegal information and the violations on the Internet.

I can still remember one example clearly. During the US presidential elections in 2000, an American youth posted a piece of information threatening others in an online forum of a well known US media company. It was soon discovered by the US law enforcement department and those involved were punished accordingly.

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