Chinese Web portals agree to purge critical content

Tuesday, 16 July 2002, 4:04 AM EST

The "Public Pledge on Self-discipline for China Internet Industry" has attracted more than 300 signatories since its launch March 16, said a spokeswoman for the Internet Society of China, who identified herself only as Miss Sun.

The pledge's main aims appear fairly benign: promotion of Internet use, prevention of cyber crime, fostering healthy industry competition, avoiding intellectual property violations.

Other clauses, though, seem less innocent given China's tight control over information and the government's extreme sensitivity to criticism or political challenges. New regulations on Internet publishing take effect Aug. 1 "to promote the healthy development of Internet publications," the official Beijing Morning Post reported Monday.

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