China seeks public feedback for Internet law

Government soliciting opinions regarding its proposed amendments to Internet law, with changes initiated in light of Web's rapid development and to safeguard national security.

The Chinese government has started soliciting citizens' feedback on proposed changes to the law on managing the Internet within the country.

According to a joint statement issued on Thursday by China's State Internet Information Office and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the public's opinions and suggestions are being sought due to the rapid development of Internet in China which is leading to "new situations and problems". The window for providing such feedback will close on Jul. 6, 2012, it added.

The proposed draft of the new legislation encourages Internet service providers to engage in self-regulation activities, while calling on local users to supervise Internet information services. Additionally, there will be an Internet supervision system--which comprises of telecommunication authorities, Internet information content adminstrators, and police--in place, it stated.

The new law also clarifies the licensing procedure for online forums and microblogs as well as standardizes the entry criteria for Web sites and service providers' management responsbilities. More rules on users' real-name registration on social media sites and forums can also be expected should the legislation be passed.

A non-governmental organization (NGO) had in April called on the country's Web companies to strengthen their self-discipline in order to stem the tide of online rumors surfacing. The Internet Society of China said the spread of such rumors has become a public nuisance that seriously infringes on people's interests, national security and social stability.

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