The Chinese government has decided it likes the internet after all – even micro-blogging services like Twitter.
In a white paper released today, it calls the internet ‘the crystallization of human wisdom, the great scientific invention of the 20th century, an important indicator of advanced productivity’.
Called China’s Internet Situation, the paper promises that the Chinese government will promote internet usage to accelerate economic development and improve citizens’ lives.
“The Chinese Government has always adhered to the law regulation of the internet, and is committed to create a healthy and harmonious internet environment that is more credible and more useful, more conducive to economic and social development of the internet,” it says.
Much of the paper is devoted to listing China’s great achievements in embracing the web. It claims that 96 percent of towns now have broadband, and that internet penetration is 29 percent – above the world average, it says. Over the next five years, it says, the government aims to increase this to 45 percent.
“Online games, online animation, online music, online video and other industry is booming, greatly enhancing the overall strength of China’s cultural industry,” says the paper – though it doesn’t mention the US’ cultural industry, which isn’t quite so happy, thanks to the country’s staggering level of piracy.
Citizens have full freedom of speech on the internet, the paper claims.
“China now has millions of forums and 220 million blog users, according to sampling statistics,” says the paper. “More than 66 percent of Chinese internet users comment regularly on the internet, discuss various topics, fully express ideas and pursue their interests.”
The paper even cites micro-blogging sites such as Twitter as a way of improving citizens’ ability to communicate online.
But, it says, it wants to strengthen the ‘legal and moral education’ of the internet and protect minors online – the explanation for its banning of popular websites and search engines in the past.