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China regulator says will step up efforts to build 'civilised internet'

·1 min read
Illustration photo of computer code on a screen above a Chinese flag

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China will strengthen its efforts to build a "civilised" internet with an eye on reshaping online behaviour and use it as a platform to disseminate new party theories and promote socialist values, the country's cyberspace regulator said.

The head of Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) Zhuang Rongwen said such efforts were crucial to build a "modern socialist country", given that China had over 1 billion netizens and was the world's largest digital society, according to an article published on the front page of the Study Times newspaper on Wednesday.

The Study Times is published by the Central Party School, which trains rising officials in the ruling Communist Party. The CAC reposted the article on its official WeChat account.

The Party should take advantage of the internet's ability to facilitate communication, he said, and use it to "let the party's innovative theories 'fly into the homes of ordinary people'".

Good role models should be better publicised and young internet users should be guided to develop good cyberspace habits rather than behaviours such as cyberbullying, he said, adding that internet firms should improve their self-discipline.

After years of runaway growth and rapid change, China's regulators have been trying to further strengthen control over society and its cyberspace.

In recent months, regulators have wielded a wide-ranging crackdown against the technology and other sectors.

The State Council published guidelines towards building a "civilised" internet last month, saying that the cyberspace should be used to promote education about the ruling Communist Party and its achievements.

(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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