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International Business / The Pacific : China Orders Net Users to Register With Police

February 15, 1996|From Associated Press

BEIJING — In its latest move to control the flow of information, China on Wednesday ordered all those who use the Internet and other international computer networks to register with the police within 30 days.

The order came in a circular issued by the Ministry of Public Security, the state-run New China News Agency reported.

New China did not report a date by which current users must register. Those who do not will be punished according to regulations on computer networks approved last month by the government, the news agency said.

It was not clear how foreigners will be affected by the decree.

The rules have not been published in detail, but previous New China reports warned network users not to harm national security, reveal state secrets or disseminate pornography.

Beijing has commonly used state security laws to punish anyone it feels threatens the rule of the Communist Party. The laws allow for long prison terms and, in some cases, execution.

China in December embarked on a broad crackdown on Internet users and on sources of information it considers harmful to government interests.

The Ministry of Post Telecommunications was made the sole provider of channels connecting Chinese computer users with international networks, and New China was named the go-between and censor for foreign news agencies that want to provide economic news services to Chinese customers.

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