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Chinese Govt. Seeks To Control Web For 50th Anniversary

The publicity arm of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee has called upon all government departments and ministries to increase vigilance and control over information on the Web, according to Ming Pao, a Hong Kong Chinese language daily.

A source of Ming Pao said that the government sought to tighten control over Internet content because this year would be the 10th anniversary of the June 4th Tiananman Crackdown and the 80th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement, two very sensitive and destabilizing dates in Chinese history

Most importantly, Beijing hopes to maintain a "positive" atmosphere this year, particularly since 1 October would be the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic.

One political analyst said that the Chinese authorities will attempt to monitor Internet usage by screening files that are downloaded or uploaded to the Web to prevent dissemination of what they deem is destabilizing material.

Although China has an estimated 2.1 million users, the majority of access is through 'danweis,' work units in organizations or private companies, which allegedly makes it easier to monitor Web usage.

According to the Ming Pao article, Chinese officials have even gone as far as to declare that online discussion of the Clinton scandal should be prohibited.