Cyberspace regulator meets the press
Updated: 2006-02-17 19:45
Lianhe Zaobao : As Mr. Liu has just said and emphasized, no
one has been arrested in China simply because he or she said something on the
Internet, and the government adopts explicit lawful management over Internet
affairs. May I ask a question that if illegal activities did take place on some
websites, for example, if they published some illegal comments, what would the
Internet Affairs Bureau and the Public Security Ministry do? Till now, how many
websites have been penalized for such occurrences and what are the penalties?
Another question, you have said that blogs and personal websites are also
subject to relevant approval procedures if they want to release news-like
information. How many blogs or personal websites have applied for approval? And
what did the authorities do about the websites that might have released news
comments without having first gone through the required formalities?
Liu: Reports from the public are the main way we deal with
illegal and harmful information. As I have just introduced, the China Reporting
Center of Illegal and Unhealthy Information has received 235,000 tip-offs from
the public since it was set up in June 2004. A part of those tip-offs can be
dealt with directly by related websites because there is a system through which
the websites can receive such reports immediately. The rest are passed on to
relevant government departments and those governmental departments are
responsible for informing related websites that they are to delete the illegal
and harmful information on their websites. It is called the
"Notification-Deletion" mechanism, and is also an international practice.
Referring to the question about blogs and personal websites carrying news, I
hope you can be clear about one thing and that is that not all the news released
needs a permit. Those which need permission are information related to politics,
economy, military and foreign affairs, since such news is closely linked to the
public interest. The prerequisites to providing Internet information services
are stipulated by the Regulations on Management of Online News Services. I can
give you the related materials after this press conference.
Penalties imposed on websites carrying illegal and harmful information have
been lenient in China. Under ordinary circumstances, ordering the deletion of
the information has been enough. No website has been shut down as a result.
China News Service : In your introduction you said that
China's Internet industry has drawn on the experience of other countries, and
China set up an industry organization as well as an Internet society. Could you
please give some examples of how the Internet self-regulating organization would
deal with problems?
Liu: The major aim of setting up Internet trade
organizations is not to deal with problems on the Internet. It is to facilitate
the industry's development and to contribute to exchange and cooperation. These
Internet trade organizations have drawn up some pledges and performance
specifications. One important aim is to prevent vicious competition within the
industry. As to the problems facing the industry, the industry's representatives
are working together for solutions. The self-discipline concept has achieved
good results, at least in three aspects. First, unlike before, the industry now
has its own standards. Second, there is room for industry players to communicate
and discuss with one another. Third, these players can collate the industry's
opinions and proposals and make representations to government organs, which
would help the government understand the industry better. Many problems
confronting China's Internet industry have been resolved within the framework of
industry self-discipline. As I know, the Internet Society of China organizes
overseas research trips every year for members and related specialists to learn
from overseas Internet organizations.