On February 18, 2008, Outlook Weekly, a Xinhua News Agency magazine, published a group of articles about China’s Internet. One of them was about the Internet police. The Chinese government’s control of the Internet is well known. Internet police are one of the main means of controlling the Internet. Because of the nature of the special work done by the Internet police, outsiders seldom know what they do. Now that the article below has been translated, our readers may come to understand the Communist Party’s description of Internet control in China’s official media descriptions. 
Outlook Weekly obtained information from related sources that, in 2007, local public security divisions in the country uncovered 266 criminal cases of pornography on the Internet and 298 of Internet gambling and cheating. The action of the Internet police is behind these numbers.
As the Internet has become more popularized, using the Internet for obscene pornography, gambling and cheating has also been spreading. When a real (but not gun related) crime is being committed in the virtual Internet society, the public security police step into the virtual society from the real one; therefore, the Internet police enter at a historic moment.
Then, what kind of people are the Internet police? And how do they deal with Internet crimes? Before the Chinese New Year, Outlook Weekly interviewed the Internet police troop at the Beijing Police Station.
A Highly Educated Young Troop
“Internet Police” is a name that people use for the policemen from the Beijing Police Station’s Internet Monitoring Division. Its former identity was “Computer Safety Monitoring Department,” which was established in December 2000. Before it was formed, it was an office of the Beijing Police Station Information Division.
Along with the rapid popularization of the Internet, the Beijing Internet Police Troop has also expanded. A policeman’s average age is less then 30. General reports are that their beginning education is a bachelors’ degree. However, this troop has one Ph.D. and about 20 with masters’ degrees. This troop has the highest education and is the youngest in the Beijing public security system.
Qi Kun is a 29-year-old Internet policeman. He looks like an intellectual scholar, but he is already a “senior statesman” in the Beijing Police Station Internet Monitor Division. Like Qi Kun, Internet policemen mostly look quiet and gentle; certainly their appearance does not conform to the tough and energetic policeman stereotype.
But do not therefore underestimate these Internet policemen. Internet crimes basically have intelligent and hidden characteristics; therefore, it requires these Internet policemen not only to know the information related to technology and detection, but also the law and computers.
The responsibility of the Internet police is to clamp down on various Internet crimes. These crimes may either use the Internet as a tool, or they attack the Internet as a direct target. In the process of identifying an Internet crime, they need to use the domain name, key word filters, Internet search, gateway technology and IP blockade, and electronic data evidence collection technologies. These tools enable them to screen and gather related clues and information from Internet information that is as vast as a sea and disappears instantaneously.
Evidence collection is a key to identifying Internet crimes; yet it is the difficult part. First, it is technologically difficult, and second, collecting evidence needs to be quick and accurate, because the related data and information is very easy to tamper with and remove.
In addition, the Internet policemen’s important routine tasks include managing and monitoring the dissemination of public information; participating in the special treatment of harmful Internet information; coordinating related departments to process illegal websites; removing bad information, maintaining Internet security; and strengthening the public security system’s science and technology construction.
The “Virtual World” Reveals Invincible Might
In April 2007, the Beijing Internet police suspected several companies of using the cellular phone WAP Internet to send Beijing cellular phone users massive obscene pictures, sexually teasing language, and other false information to induce and deceive cellular phone users to click them, so the companies could make a profit.
Therefore, the Beijing police took this seriously and formed a special team immediately to target these violations. In accordance with the Beijing Police Station’s related regulations, the Beijing police organized some special activities in the whole city to attack Internet obscene pornography. Based on prior investigations and obtaining important evidence, the illegal activities were attacked, including those who were involved in making and distributing obscene subjects. Since these actions have been taken, the Beijing police have uncovered seven of this kind of case, and legally handled 35 involved people. Among them, 18 were arrested on a criminal charge, and 17 were detained.
Purifying the Internet environment and attacking Internet crimes are the Internet policemen’s sacred duties. Just in the last year, the Beijing Police Station Internet Monitor Division not only obtained an advanced unit national award for its special activities of attacking obscene pornography, but also continuously uncovered Internet prostitutes, Internet scams, and Internet gambling.
Zhao Hongzhi, a deputy director of the Beijing Police Station Internet Monitor Division, who was interviewed by an Outlook news reporter, is a senior engineer and also a director of the Information Internet Security Management Division of the Olympic Technology Department.
Since the Barcelona computer Internet entered people’s lives in 1992, attacks against the Olympic Games Internet security have intensified.
During the Olympic Games, the official Internet has been attacked 11.3 billion times. In 2004, the Athens Olympic Games brought Internet security to an unprecedented level, and the value of computer security system repair was as high as 400 million dollars. In February 2006, in 16 days of the Winter Olympic Games in Italy, the Internet system generated an average of more than 3 million security event reports each day, and successfully prevented 158 significant events that would possibly have caused an Internet breakdown. Among those events, 10 were considered extremely serious ones.
Zhao Hongzhi told the reporter from Outlook that the Olympic information Internet security was the premise for the Olympic Game normal operation. It required resources from physics, the Internet, the system, and various application aspects to carry on a three-dimensional protection. Regardless of which level of security measures did not function well, it created a possibility of an Internet breakdown.
Zhao Hongzhi said, “At present, we Internet police have very heavy duties, and everyone is working with all their might.”
“Virtual policemen” are on Duty
On September 1, 2007, Internet users discovered that “virtual police” appeared in obvious places on Beijing’s key websites and on forum pages. A month later, the “virtual police” patrol area had been expanded to every medium and to small websites.
The animated image of “virtual police” is designed based on the prototype of real life patrol policemen. Every 30 to 45 minutes, “virtual police” will automatically pop up from the bottom of the homepage and appear for 2 minutes. Internet users’ usage isn’t impacted. A “virtual police” has three kinds of images: driving a car, driving a motorcycle, and walking.
The Beijing Police Station Internet Monitor Division also provides a picture link of “Capital Internet Reporting to the Police Service Station” on over 9.6 million Internet homepages in the whole city. If an Internet user uses the link to get help, this person will only need to click the automated image or reporting to the police picture. He or she will then be automatically connected to the City Police Station Information Internet Security Reporting Service Station. Once a case is reported, if it needs a longer time to process, it will be transmitted to a related business department for processing. If the case only needs a short time to process, it will be processed immediately.
The periodic patrol of the Internet police and the application of reporting to the police picture link as new channels of approaching police have eliminated the blind spots in terms of time and location in the Internet administration, expanded Internet police monitoring time and scope, and raised Internet users’ awareness of rights and self-discipline.
It is said that Beijing “virtual police” have been on duty for four months and have received 10,893 Internet reports to the police, including 400 pornography reports, 4,647 Internet scams, 23 Internet on gambling, 291 of online harmful information, 221 virus attacks, and another 5,311 on illegal information. Compared to the time before the “virtual police” were on duty, the rates of the Beijing Police Station Internet Monitor Division accepting reports to the police and sending out policemen have increased more than four times; therefore, it effectively constrains the online harmful information and online illegal and criminal activities.
 Xinhua, February 18, 2008