Censoring authorities will invest in social media communication says Ministry of Public Security
The traditionally secretive Chinese national police division dealing with Internet content and censorship is to become more transparent by investing in social media communications, opening appropriate accounts across the nation on Weibo – China's Twitter equivalent – in a bid to become more visible to the public, says the Ministry of Public Safety.
According to a Reuters report over the weekend, the division's watchdog role regarding "illegal and harmful" online information will continue unabated, blocking sites it deems could challenge the rule of the Communist Party or threaten stability… that includes popular Western sites like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, as well as Google Inc's main search engine and Gmail service.
The Ministry says the objective of the division is bring about "a harmonious, cultured, clear and bright Internet" by working to root out "illegal and harmful information on the Internet, deter and prevent cyber crimes and improper words and deeds online, publish case reports and handle public tip-offs".
In a statement the Ministry commented: "The Internet police are coming out to the front stage from behind the curtains, beginning regular open inspection and law enforcement efforts, raising the visibility of the police online, working hard to increase a joint feeling of public safety for the online community and satisfy the public."
The internet supervisory drive covers all activities deemed illegal or undesirable, including "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" – a charge often used to deal with political dissidents; police will issue warnings to those involved in minor offences, but pursue and prosecute more serious cases.
Reuters reports that official statistics so far this year reveal that Chinese authorities have deleted some 758,000 pieces of "illegal and criminal information" from the Internet and investigated more than 70,000 cyber crime cases.
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