Beijing sets up leading small group to guide internet policy

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 May, 2014, 2:43am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 May, 2014, 2:43am

Beijing has established the mainland's first city-level leading small group on cybersecurity and adoption of information technology, a move some analysts say could lead to tighter control over the internet.

The ad hoc steering committee will report to the municipal Communist Party committee and be chaired by Beijing's party chief and mayor.

It will oversee policy and planning of internet development in the capital, the mainland's internet hub, the Beijing Daily reported yesterday.

The group was set up after a central-level leading group, headed by President Xi Jinping, highlighted internet safety as a national security issue.

"It's not surprising to see Beijing have its own leading small group, and other provinces or municipalities will likely follow suit," said Qiao Mu, an associate professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

"The leading small group will ensure the party central's dictates on internet management will be strictly followed, especially as so many online portals are based in Beijing."

Xi said earlier online opinion must be properly guided, and the internet should help spread "mainstream values and positive energy". The central government is tightening its grip on the internet. Last year's move against "online rumour-mongers" led to the detention of several leading internet celebrities.