China will intensify controls of the growing numbers of bloggers using the Internet to lay bare their thoughts, politics and even bodies, the country’s chief censor has announced.
The director of China’s General Administration of Press and Publication, Long Xinmin, said the administration was forming rules to further regulate Internet publishing, including the country’s legions of bloggers, the Beijing Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
“We must recognize that in an era when the Internet is developing at a breakneck pace, government oversight and control measures and means are facing new tests,” Long told members of China’s national parliament on Monday, the report said. Long singled out bloggers as one challenge.
Long said “citizens’ freedom of expression would be fully protected.”
But China’s restless blogging population has been a headache for the ruling Communist Party, which has sought to extend long-standing censorship to the country’s fast-growing Internet.
By last September, the number of blog sites in China reached 34 million, a 30-fold increase from four years before.
Chinese bloggers have detailed their political views, hobbies and grudges. One famed pioneer, Mu Zimei, a young journalist, attracted a storm of publicity in 2003 by chronicling — names and all — her complicated love life. Another blogger, calling herself Liu Mangyan, published nude photos of herself.
More sober-minded bloggers publish combative investigative journalism and punditry on current affairs.
The press and publishing administration and other authorities would be casting new rules to cover Internet “publishing activities,” Long said.
“The publishing administration authorities have been paying attention to this new mode of Internet dissemination,” Long said.
China does not lack rules controlling the Internet; an army of competing agencies often issue regulations.
Last year, China’s Ministry of Information Industry issued rules on Internet news content that analysts said was aimed at extending regulations governing licensed news outlets to blogs and Internet-only news sites.
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