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
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
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
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