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China Commits to Firm Control Over the Internet

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After Google defiantly withdrew from its territory, and even after facing a barrage of international criticism due to its iron-fisted censorship policies, the People's Republic of China insists it will not ease its governmental grip on the Internet. In a 31-page government paper issued today, the Chinese government poetically described the Internet as "a crystallization of human wisdom," and fully acknowledged the integral role it has played in "transforming the pattern of economic development." But officials still vowed to retain firm control over what its citizens read and consume online, for the sake of the nation's security and stability.

"Effectively protecting Internet security is an important part of China's Internet administration, and an indispensable requirement for protecting state security and the public interest," the paper argues. Citing the risk that Chinese Web surfers could be exposed to material that incites violence, spreads hatred, or advocates "heresy," the government asserted its sovereign right to filter any media that may threaten security. The only way to do that, authorities claim, is with non-stop practice.

As Reuters points out, China currently boasts the world's largest online population, and the government is intent on providing Internet access to even more citizens over the next few years. If China were a smaller, less internationally prominent country, other world leaders wouldn't likely devote as much attention and concern to its policies. But the reality is, the world's economic future hinges on China's economic future. And, as the fast-rising country begins to emerge from its industrial cocoon and starts spreading its entrepreneurial wings, it becomes even more critically important that future Chinese leaders know the world around them. [From: Reuters]

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