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China Publishes Paper Outlining Policies On Internet Usage, Security

More than 42,000 websites compromised in China last year, and citizens 'fully enjoy freedom of speech on the Internet,' paper says
China this week issued a white paper on its Internet policy that included data on infected websites, Conficker, and computer crime cases.

The paper, published by the Chinese government's Information Office of the State Council, stated China's policies on Internet usage, privacy, and security. "Chinese citizens fully enjoy freedom of speech on the Internet," the paper said, and "their right to freedom of speech on the Internet is protected by law."

Meanwhile, online crime is on the rise in China: Its public security departments handled 48,000 computer crime cases last year, up from 35,000 in 2008. "Crimes such as producing and spreading computer viruses, and computer and network hacking are increasing. Criminal activities such as disseminating obscenity, pornography and gambling are still pressing problems," the paper said.

China's public security departments dealt with 142 computer crime cases in 1998, 29,000 in 2007, 35,000 in 2008, and 48,000 in 2009. As of last year, there were more than 42,000 websites compromised by attackers -- and 18 million machines per month were getting infected by the Conficker worm, the paper says.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee on Guarding Internet Security defines computer crimes as "intentionally inventing and spreading destructive programs such as computer viruses to attack the computer system and the communications network, thus damaging the computer system and the communications network," the paper says.

The Chinese government also acknowledged differences among different countries when it comes to what constitutes Internet security. "Concerns about Internet security of different countries should be fully respected. We should seek common ground and reserve differences, promote development through exchanges, and jointly protect international Internet security," the paper said.

Meanwhile, there are some 220 million bloggers in China, according to the paper. And all users in China -- citizens or foreigners -- are prohibited by law from using the Internet in such a way that they "produce, duplicate, announce or disseminate information having the following contents: being against the cardinal principles set forth in the Constitution; endangering state security, divulging state secrets, subverting state power and jeopardizing national unification; damaging state honor and interests; instigating ethnic hatred or discrimination and jeopardizing ethnic unity; jeopardizing state religious policy, propagating heretical or superstitious ideas; spreading rumors, disrupting social order and stability; disseminating obscenity, pornography, gambling, violence, brutality and terror or abetting crime; humiliating or slandering others, trespassing on the lawful rights and interests of others; and other contents forbidden by laws and administrative regulations," the paper says.

A copy of the white paper is available here.

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