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“Forum on China’s Internet Media” and a Secure Internet

"The Ninth Forum on China’s Internet Media" closed on November 24, 2009, in Xiamen City. The forum was held under the guidance of the State Council Information Office, and organized by,,, CRI Online, the China Daily website, the CCTV network, China Youth Network, China Economic Net, China News, China Radio Network,,,,, jointly with the All-China Journalists’ Association., the Information Office of the Fujian Provincial People’s Government, and the Xiamen Municipal People’s Government Information Office co-hosted it. [1] More than 50 online media participants jointly issued the "Declaration on Building a Secure Internet," advocating a safe, civilized network. Forum attendees included officials from the State Council Information Office, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television, the Taiwan Affairs Office and other national authorities, leaders from major government and business websites, Internet experts, and suppliers of network technology, advertising and related network equipment. Under the theme of "building a secure Internet and a harmonious E world," nearly a thousand participants from the industry analyzed the status and development trend of China’s Internet media, exchanged opinions about how to protect the security of information flow and build a secure Internet. [2] The following is a summary of the relevant contents.

Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, attended the Ninth Forum on China’s Internet Media and delivered the keynote address, titled "Internet Media Must be Responsible for Internet Security." Wang stressed that "From the stand point of national security, information security, and cultural security, Internet media must adapt to the new requirements and new changes according to the current situation, earnestly implement the central authorities’ important policies and strategies on strengthening Internet development and management, and actively respond to network security challenges based on domestic and international situations. " [3]

Wang Chen said, "China officially connected to the Worldwide Internet in 1994. After 15 years of development, China’s Internet population reached 360 million. The Internet penetration rate is equal to the world average. In recent years, China’s development of the Internet has presented some new features: First, the information form of communication is transforming from text-based to multimedia with audio, video, photos and other forms. It is estimated that currently more than 50% of online communication in China is in the form of audio, video and other multimedia. … Second, the main application area of the Internet is rapidly extending from information communication and consumer entertainment into business services, and e-commerce. The Internet developed rapidly, and has begun to impact the national economy in a deeper and wider way. … Third, the service model is changing from information provider to platform provider. … Fourth, the means of communication is extending from traditional Internet to mobile Internet. With the development of 3G networks, mobile phone Internet is becoming a new trend.

I would like to take this opportunity to make a few comments and suggestions:

1. We need to maintain a sense of responsibility and urgency for effectively enhancing network security. The Internet has become part of our nation’s major infrastructure. On-line information is an important strategic national resource, and is closely related to people’s daily life. Effectively maintaining network security and Internet information flow security is the fundamental requirement for safeguarding national security and people’s fundamental interests, promoting economic development and cultural prosperity, and maintaining social harmony and stability. The more powerful and influential the Internet media communication is, the more security and reliability it requires. … The security of the Internet media information flow not only impacts the image and reputation of the particular media, but also impacts the healthy development of the Internet industry. Maintaining network security is to promote better development of Internet media and the Internet itself.

2. We should earnestly view improving the ability to guide public opinion online as an important measure for maintaining Internet security. China is in a critical period of reform and development, a period when social contradictions are prominent, and various ideas and values are actively interacting. Online public opinion is pluralistic, diverse, and dynamic. Effectively guiding online public opinion is a major means to maintain online information security. It is related to our success and social harmony. In recent years, Internet media has carefully followed the central government’s spirit, firmly grasped the correct orientation, and … effectively assisted the Party and state government’s work. Guiding online public opinion has become a new innovative highlight of the Party’s propaganda and ideological work in the information era.

3. We should effectively treat regulating network communication as a key link in maintaining Internet security. … At present, more than 85% of news and information about current political affairs on China’s Internet is from the central government and local key news websites. Our online news and information communication are standardized and orderly on the whole. … Internet media must carefully implement the "Administrative Regulations of Internet News and Information Services" and other relevant laws and regulations, strictly abide by the news propaganda discipline, and conscientiously improve the information production and dissemination process in order to ensure that the news sources are from legitimate formal sites, and the news content is true and accurate. Relevant authorities should strengthen their supervision over Internet communication according to the law, and severely penalize illegal acts of Internet communication, in order to achieve the timely dissemination of network information flow, while ensuring the security and orderly flow of online information.

4. The effective protection of the physical and mental health of minors must be placed in a prominent position when maintaining Internet security. 

5. We should rely on promoting the online media industry’s self-regulation as an important guarantee for safeguarding Internet security. Internet media practitioners and the majority of Internet users are the main body to maintain Internet security. They are also an important force for safeguarding Internet security. In recent years, with the joint efforts of all parties concerned, the online media industry’s self-regulation has made significant progress, which has played an important role in ensuring Internet security. … First, the Internet industry organizations should play a leading role in building self-regulation, improving the self-regulatory mechanism, expanding the scope of self-discipline, and guiding the industry to build websites, while following the law with integrity and civilization in order to form a safe and orderly business service environment. Second, the Internet operating enterprises and websites must properly undertake their social responsibility to further strengthen network security, consciously accept supervision and guidance from government authorities, improve the internal information security management system, and consciously accept public supervision. Third, we should carry out widespread Internet security education to raise public awareness of network security issues, strengthen their self-defense capability, and form a good trend toward the whole society jointly safeguarding Internet security.

6. We should earnestly view promoting Internet creditability as an important foundation for maintaining Internet security."[4]

Xinhuanet published an article on November 25, 2009, stating that to "establish a ‘sense of social responsibility’ is absolutely an important and indispensable element." "First of all, Internet security needs leadership. It is the Government’s responsibility to improve Internet security management and enhance the Internet security’s defense capability. Since the earlier years, when we ‘crossed the river by feeling the stones,’ we were pleased to see that the Chinese government has been making relentless efforts to build Internet security. The authorities have successively promulgated and implemented a series of rules and regulations, issued laws and regulations related to Internet security, and formed an emergency response system to deal with Internet security emergencies. These are our guidelines for building a secure Internet.

Secondly, as an important foundation for today’s information society, Internet media became the first barrier to ensuring Internet security. The media must assume responsibility for being a "security starting point." … The security of Internet media information flow not only impacts that media’s image and reputation, but it also impacts the healthy development of the Internet industry. Maintaining network security will promote better development of Internet media and the Internet itself.

Finally, another strong Internet participating group, Internet users, is also an important force in safeguarding Internet security. … We need all users to assume social responsibility as public opinion supervisors for Internet media, and to work shoulder to shoulder with the Internet industry." [3]

On November 24, Global Times quoted Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office, "In recent years, China’s Internet industry has developed rapidly, and presented many new features in information form, application areas, service models and means of communication, thus raising higher requirements for Internet security. The Internet has brought tremendous changes to social life, while providing a lot of convenience. Internet security issues have become increasingly prominent, especially in the area where pornography and other harmful materials seriously damage the physical and mental health of minors, network hacking, and viruses seriously threaten Internet operation security, and online fraud, theft and other cyber crimes directly endanger the safety of public property. … From the standpoint of national security, information security, and cultural security, Internet media must adapt to the new requirements of the new changes in this situation, earnestly implement the central authorities’ important policies and strategies on strengthening Internet development and management, and actively respond to network security challenges based on domestic and international situations. We should effectively enhance the awareness of Internet security issues, actively develop and strictly manage the Internet according to the law, strengthen self-discipline, and promote honesty. We need to maintain network security while promoting information flow, ensure the security of online information flow, further enhance the influence and credibility of online media, build a healthy, civilized, safe and orderly network environment, and create an Internet development path with Chinese characteristics." [1]

"Declaration of Building a Secure Internet" commitments: Grasp how to guide public opinion in the correct direction. Adhere to positive news reporting and encourage unity and stability. Insist on serving the nation’s interests and the people’s interests; strive to report touching, credible and influential online news with Internet characteristics; and do a solid job in guiding public opinion by pooling people’s wisdom, allaying public confusion, diverting people’s grievances, rallying public opinion and winning people’s hearts. Through reporting and guidance, (we should) ensure that the Internet is dominated by positive and healthy contents and rational and civilized opinions. Adhere to the goal of building a civilized Internet, and strengthen Internet media self-discipline. Always give priority to social benefits, and conscientiously assume social responsibility. Resolutely resist all negative information that damages social stability and the public interest, and resolutely eliminate pornographic and other harmful information. … Conscientiously follow laws and regulations, operate and manage websites according to the law. Raise legal awareness, prevent (the spread of) illegal information, and maintain normal order for online communication. Strengthen the development of website security systems, strictly standardize the security procedure for information production and delivery, and effectively safeguard the security, authority and credibility of Internet media and online information. … Focus on improving the awareness of Internet information security, and vigorously promote internet integrity … and widespread Internet security knowledge, and enhance public self-defense capabilities. … We should provide guidance to netizens so that they form good habits of being honest and trustworthy online. …To enhance the development of Internet media platforms, improve information security. To strengthen technical innovation, management innovation, and operation innovation, enhance the overall power of Internet media, and make Internet media a powerful body and main foundation for maintaining Internet and information security. Strengthen the Internet infrastructure and technology development, actively promote research development and technological progress, optimize Internet structure, improve communication capacity, and provide reliable safeguards for Internet information security.

[1] Global Times, November 24, 2009
[2] Xinhua, November 24, 2009
[3] Xinhua, November 25, 2009
[4] Xinhua, November 24, 2009