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New PRC Internet Regulations

July 22, 2002

July 8-22, 2002

Starting August 1, China will launch new regulations to toughen its control of political, social and youth-oriented Internet content, according to officials and state media. According to China News Service, any content related to state security, social stability or “other major topics” must be submitted for official approval before publication on a website. Youth-oriented material must avoid “harmful content” such as horror, cruelty or topics that could encourage young people to commit crimes or “imitate behavior that could violate social ethics,” the agency said. The implementation of the Temporary Regulation on the Management of Internet Publication is part of a broad crackdown on Internet use in China, following a fire that killed 25 people at an Internet cafe in Beijing on June 16. The regulations require all online publishers to operate an editorial system to censor content and “guarantee the legality” of published material. Under the regulations, all individuals and units publishing original content on websites must reregister within 60 days from August 1. The regulations were approved by the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) last month after earlier approval by the General Administration of Press and Publications. (DPA)
*On July 15, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the PRC for its new Internet regulations, along with the voluntary pledge signed in March by over 300 companies and organizations, including Yahoo!’s Chinese language site, to promote Internet use, to prevent cyber crime and other “harmful” material online, to foster healthy industry competition and to avoid intellectual property violations. CPJ charged that government threats to fine or close down online publishers if they disobey an existing broad ban on content are unacceptable. (CPJ, Reuters)
*On July 18, 30 of the 2400 Beijing Internet bars that were shut down after the Beijing Internet fire, reopened after passing safety tests. According to state media, the Internet cafes will operate under strict new regulations, which include banning smoking and underage customers, closing by midnight, having barred windows and fire extinguishers and registering all computer users. (AP)
*Hong Kong’s government has also proposed to tighten controls over its 290 Internet cafes to raise safety standards. Among the proposals was a plan to ban teenagers under 16 from Internet cafes after 10 pm and to require operators to install devices blocking violent, pornographic or gambling Web sites, according to a government document obtained on July 18. (Reuters)

On July 13, Tibetan scholar Tanak Jigme Sangpo, 74, was released in Beijing and arrived in Washington DC after he was paroled to seek medical treatment for his high blood pressure and coronary disease. In the past 32 years, he has been in and out of prison on charges of counterrevolutionary propaganda and incitement. When released, he had nine years remaining on a 28-year sentence. (AP)
*On July 22, democracy activist and former urban planning official Fang Jue, 47, was released after serving four years in Beijing’s Liangxiang prison on fraud charges. Upon release, the police did not return Fang’s Hukou (Household Registration System) identification card, which is necessary for all Chinese citizens to have access to all basic resources, including housing, education and employment. Immediately after his release, over ten policemen and five police cars tailed him, keeping Fang under intense surveillance. In 1998, Fang called for political reform, including direct elections at all levels of government, freedom of the press and freedom of association. In 1999, he was arrested for fraud charges, which he strongly denied. (HRIC, Reuters)

Citing Wang Xianzheng, head of the State Administration on Work Safety, The China Daily reported that a total of 53,302 people have been killed in 447,234 workplace accidents so far this year. In spite of the death toll, Wang said the nation's work safety situation is starting to improve. (PRNews Asia)
*According to a local official and state media, on July 8, liquid ammonia spilled from a pipe at the Shenxian County Fertilizer Company in Shandong Province, killing 13 and injuring 11 people. It was not clear how many people were at work at the time, said Wang, an official from the provincial Work Safety Supervision Administration. (AP)
*On July 15, over 2000 former employees of the now-privatized Changzheng Building Materials Corporation brick and tile factory in Inner Mongolia gathered to demand pension benefits. When some workers tried to march to government offices in Baotou, the police blocked their path, and arrested three workers and a bystander, according to Liu, a worker. Liu reported that after hundreds of workers returned to the factory, about 200 police and 700 armed militia had surrounded the factory. When the workers lost their jobs, the factory’s $1 million pension fund was missing, and they received only minimal payments. The Donghe government office director said that the workers should not turn to the government because Changzheng is a private company. (NYT)

According to a Hong Kong human rights group, on July 20 the police detained 40 people protesting on behalf of 1,119 people who were resettled as a result of the massive Three Gorges Dam project. The protestors rallied against high food prices, a shortage of farming equipment and difficulties understanding the Shandong Province dialect. When Reuters contacted the city government, the official denied all knowledge of such an incident. (Reuters)

In a survey released July 7 of 7,000 people between the ages of 15 and 50 conducted by China’s State Family Planning Commission in collaboration with the US Center for Disease Control (CDC), results indicated that one in six Chinese said that they had never heard of the disease. Moreover, of those that had heard of AIDS, almost three-quarters did not know its cause and almost 90 percent did not know how it could be detected. The researchers stated that they lacked a “sense of risk of infection and an awareness of self-protection. Widespread information and education efforts are urgently needed.” This study is the first major survey of knowledge about AIDS among the Chinese. (Muzi, WP)

Since the banned Falungong spiritual movement jammed Sinosat-1, one of China's main television satellites for eight days from June 23 to 30 and briefly beamed a video into millions of homes during last month's World Cup soccer finals, Beijing authorities have started a nationwide movement to discredit Falungong as a quasi-terrorist sect bent on violating international telecom regulations and “challenging modern civilization.” Officials vowed to punish those who were responsible for hijacking the satellite signals. (CNN, Reuters, WP)
*On July 20, dozens of Falungong followers protested in Hong Kong to mark the third anniversary of Beijing’s crackdown on the sect in mainland China. About 100 practitioners meditated in a downtown park, while another 40 meditated by a police station opposite Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong, calling for an end to China’s campaign to eradicate the group.

Since March, the PRC has sent 64 North Korean defectors to South Korea via a third country despite an agreement with North Korea to repatriate them. Yet according to human rights activist Timothy Peters, who has been in China helping the refugees, the Chinese authorities were offering bounty payments to encourage its citizens to spot North Koreans. (Reuters)

AP……………..Associated Press
CNN…………..Cable News Network
CPJ…………….Committee to Protect Journalists
DPA…………..Deutsche Press Agentur
HRIC………….Human Rights in China
NYT…………..The New York Times
WP……………..The Washington Pos

Error | Human Rights in China 中国人权 | HRIC


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