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Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 12:31:36 -0500
Sender: H-Net list for Asian History and Culture <H-ASIA@msu.edu>
From: Steve Leibo <LEIBO@cnsvax.albany.edu>
Subject: H-ASIA: The Net in the PRC
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ASIA <H-ASIA@msu.edu>

State Council Adopts Draft Rules To Regulate Internet

China News Digest, 3 January 1996

[CND, 01/25/96] China's State Council has adopted draft rules to govern Internet links to overseas computer information networks, Reuters reports. Although the draft rules have yet to be released to the public, confidential sources indicate that the rules will likely regulate which companies and institutions may offer Internet access as well as mandate the use of technology to filter out pornographic and political information which the Communist Party deems offensive.

In an executive meeting chaired by Premier LI Peng, however, the cabinet reiterated its support for the continued development of international Internet links in China as long as proper controls are instituted. Xinhua reported: Participants [at the meeting] ... agreed that computer information networks are infrastructure useful for the spread of information for China's economy and that they are playing an 'increasingly important' role in the country's economic growth.

This move follows two recent high-level decrees limiting information access in China. On Dec. 31st, a joint decree from the cabinet and Communist Party warned that the Internet threatened to introduce pornography and other harmful materials into China and said we must take effective measures to deal with this. Subsequently, on Jan. 16th, an order was issued, forcing foreign vendors of economic information to submit to controls by Xinhua.

Presently, almost any Chinese living in a city and willing to pay about 100 yuan ($12) per month can buy access to the Internet. Many students and scholars have obtained free access to the Internet through the state-financed China Education and Research Network (CERNet). (Robert Gray, Liedong ZHENG)