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Beijing police launch Internet restrictions (2)

By Xuyang Jingjing (Global Times)

10:37, July 26, 2012

"(The chief's remarks) are quite vague and broad, and it might lead to abuse of power in punishing people," said Zhang.

Article 41 of the Constitution of China stipulates that citizens have the right to criticize or give suggestions to any government agencies or staff members, but should not make up or twist facts.

"People have the right to oversee the government and have every right to express their emotions or sentiments or opinions, no matter what kind of opinions they are," said Yu Guoming, director of the Institute of Public Opinion under the Renmin University of China.

With over 538 million Web users and at least 250 million microblog users, the Internet has become an important channel for Chinese citizens to voice their grievances, anger and hopes, and sometimes touch upon sensitive issues.

The authorities are hearing a very different and often negative public opinion than was the case in the past, and they have to adapt to it, said Yu.

The explosive growth of online information dissemination has also led to a number of rumors circulating on the Internet.

The best way to refute rumors is through transparency, said Zhang. "If the government could be more open when dealing with certain things, the rumors would easily be dismissed."

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