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Beijing police launch Internet restrictions

By Xuyang Jingjing (Global Times)

10:37, July 26, 2012

The police chief of Beijing has warned that Web users who "attack" leaders of the Communist Party of China and the country, or the current system will be severely punished, raising concerns over control of online speech.

Fu Zhenghua, chief of the Beijing Public Security Bureau, made the remark at a meeting on cleaning up cyberspace on Tuesday. The one-month cleanup campaign is mainly aimed at protecting and creating a healthy cyberspace for minors.

Fu said the police have set up platforms to report offences on major microblog sites to reinforce oversight.

Three of the country's four top microblog service operators are based in Beijing, including the most popular site Sina Weibo.

Those who make up and spread political rumors, attack the Party and government leaders and the system will receive a public warning or severe punishment according to law, said Fu, according to the Beijing News.

However, he didn't specify what constitutes a political rumor or an attack.

As a result, on microblogs, users are asking the police chief to define what constitutes an "attack" or a "political rumor." It also raised people's concerns over whether the cleanup campaign will mute online criticisms of the government.

Zhang Qianfan, a law professor at Peking University who specializes in constitutional law, said that there are no criminal or administrative laws prohibiting people from criticizing the government.

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