China Establishes Internet Oversight Body

The new office reports to a body under the supervision of China's cabinet.

BEIJING – China has a new Internet oversight body answering directly to the one-party government’s cabinet in Beijing, official media reported on Wednesday.

In an era of the government’s tightening against freedom of speech on the Chinese Internet, the newly formed State Council Internet Information Office will implement Internet policy and promote the construction of a legal framework to govern online activity, including online gaming, IPTV, music, publishing, and other content.

Wang Zhen, the current State Council Information Office Minister and by SCIO Vice Minister Qian Xiaoqian will lead, coordinate, and supervise related authorities to strengthen Internet content management, authorize and and supervise online news services.

The SCIIO also will lead, coordinate, and supervise related authorities to strengthen Internet content management, authorize and supervise online news services and lead other government authorities in regulating the implementation of a so-called "civilized" Internet.

Beijing’s move to establish more centralized control over the Internet serving China’s 457 million Web surfers comes as the government fears the medium’s power to foment political change of the sort recently experienced in the Middle East and North Africa.

China regularly censors content – online and off -- considered subversive of the power held for the last 61 years by the Chinese Communist Party. The country also has been known to imprison those who use the media to express contrarian views.

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