China shuts down more than 13,000 websites in past three years

China maintains a strict censorship regime, banning access to many foreign news outlets, search engines and social media including Google and Facebook. (Reuters)
Updated 24 December 2017
0

China shuts down more than 13,000 websites in past three years

BEIJING: China has closed more than 13,000 websites since the beginning of 2015 for breaking the law or other rules and the vast majority of people support government efforts to clean up cyberspace, state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday.
The government has stepped up already tight controls over the Internet since President Xi Jinping took power five years ago, in what critics say is an effort to restrict freedom of speech and prevent criticism of the ruling Communist Party.
The government says all countries regulate the Internet, and its rules are aimed at ensuring national security and social stability and preventing the spread of pornography and violent content.
A report to the on-going session of the standing committee of China’s largely rubber stamp parliament said the authorities had targeted pornography and violence in their sweeps of websites, blogs and social media accounts, Xinhua said.
As well as the 13,000 websites shut down, almost 10 million accounts had also been closed by websites, it added. It did not give details but the accounts were likely on social media platforms.
“Internet security concerns the party’s long-term hold on power, the country’s long-term peace and stability, socio-economic development and the people’s personal interests,” Xinhua said.
More than 90 percent of people surveyed supported government efforts to manage the Internet, with 63.5 percent of them believing that in recent years there has been an obvious reduction in harmful online content, it added.
“These moves have a powerful deterrent effect,” Wang Shengjun, vice chairman of parliament’s standing committee, told legislators, according to Xinhua.
Authorities including the Cyberspace Administration of China have called more than 2,200 websites operators for talks during the same period, he said. In addition, operators have closed nearly 10 million Internet accounts for violating service protocol, while information on terrorism and pornography has been removed.
China ushered in a tough cybersecurity law in June, following years of fierce debate around the controversial legislation that many foreign business groups fear will hit their ability to operate in the country.
China maintains a strict censorship regime, banning access to many foreign news outlets, search engines and social media including Google and Facebook.


Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

Updated 26 March 2019
0

Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

  • A weekly round-up of bogus reports and phony facts in the mainstream and social media.

1 Fears flow over dihydrogen monoxide — aka “water” 

A deadly pollutant in Lebanon’s spring waters has been detected, according to social media rumors.

But the toxin in question — the scary-sounding “dihydrogen monoxide” — is in fact … water.

The chemical term is technically correct, though rarely used in common conversation, and has often been used in parodies, or to evoke fear in the minds of people.

Such was the case in the Middle East recently, after the South Lebanon Water Establishment recently moved to deny social-media rumors claiming spring waters are polluted with the compound.

“Some are circulating on social media a report attributed to the establishment saying that spring waters are polluted with dihydrogen monoxide — which is another unfamiliar chemical name for water,” the organization was quoted as saying by Lebanese media.

“The establishment denies what is being circulated regarding the alleged pollution or its claimed consequences,” it said in a statement quoted by An-Nahar newspaper. 

It described the rumors as a “silly joke” that will “not pass and will be prosecuted lawfully.”

 

2 France denies suspending visas for Algerians 

The French Embassy in Algeria has denied reports claiming that visa applications for Algerian citizens have been suspended in Algiers.

A statement by the embassy said: “Recently, false and strange information has been circulated, which the consul general of France in Algeria has completely denied.”

The statement, cited by Al-Ahram newspaper, described the reports as “false allegations,” adding that consulates across Algeria have not suspended issuing visas. 

 

3 Truth about Egypt student ‘disappearance’

A deputy head at a branch of Azhar University in Egypt has denied rumors claiming that a female student at the college has disappeared.

Osama Abdel Raouf said in statements quoted by Youm7 newspaper that they have contacted the college student’s family and that they confirmed she did not disappear. 

He added: “All the names and numbers of female students on campus have been reviewed and no absence cases have been registered.”

Abdel Raouf warned students of engaging in circulating such rumors, saying that those who will do so will be “immediately dismissed” from campus.