Chinese Net Rules Not Unusual, Says Official - InformationWeek

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Chinese Net Rules Not Unusual, Says Official

A Chinese government official begs to differ with criticism of his country's Internet censorship policies: Its rules, he insists, are actually based on those used in the United States and elsewhere.

China on Wednesday defended its censorship of information flowing into the country via the Internet, saying its practices are in line with international norms.

Liu Zhengrong, deputy chief of the Internet Affairs Bureau of the State Council Information Office in China, was quoted in the official Xinhua News Agency as saying that the Chinese people can access the Web freely, and that the country blocks only "a very few" foreign Web sites that offer mostly pornography and terrorism.

"Regulating the Internet according to law is international practice," Liu, according to Xinhua, told reporters of China Daily, the country's official English-language newspaper. "After studying Internet legislation in the West, I've found we basically have identical legislative objectives and principles."

China is one of several countries targeted by human rights groups for blocking Web sites carrying information that the country has deemed inappropriate for political reasons. The nation's clampdown on information has also become a major headache for U.S. Internet companies, which have been criticized for helping Beijing in order to continue doing business in China.

MSN and Google filter search results to abide by Chinese laws and regulations. Yahoo recently sidestepped the issue by partnering with Chinese marketplace, which runs the portal's operations in China.

On criticism of Chinese censorship, Liu said it was common practice around the world to remove "illegal and harmful" information. As an example, he said, The New York Times states it will delete from its forums messages that it finds "abusive, defamatory, obscene, in violation of copyright or trademark laws, or otherwise unacceptable."

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