BEIJING — Chinese police will on June 1 publicly pilot its Internet inspection arm which has long operated in the backstage, in a bid to further combat cyber crimes, the Ministry of Public Security said on May 31.
Starting from June 1, Internet police in 50 localities — including both metropolises such as Beijing and Shanghai as well as small, impoverished city such as Bijie in southwest China’s Guizhou province — will officially launch their own accounts on popular social networking services including Weibo and WeChat.
Working 24/7, the cyber police teams are tasked to sniff out “illegal and harmful information on the Internet, deter and prevent cyber crimes and improper words and deeds online, publish case reports and handle public tipoffs.”
They will give warning to those involved in minor offenses and help investigate law violations in more serious cases, the ministry said.
“Internet police are coming out to the front stage from behind the curtains”, a statement from the ministry said.
Police nationwide will set up their own Internet inspection forces on the basis of the pilot program, the statement said.
“Just like in the real world, law violations in the cyberspace will not go unaccounted for,” the statement read, adding that traditional crimes are increasingly infiltrating the Internet, posing severe challenges to cyberspace governance.
Chinese authorities have been tightening their grip on the Internet particularly over the past couple of years.
China’s Chief Justice Zhou Qiang vowed in March this year tough measures on cyber crime according to the law, amid efforts to cleanse the Internet space.
“The cyber space must not be allowed to descend into a lawless realm,” Zhou said when delivering a report on the work of the Supreme People’s Court (SPC) last year.
The ministry of public security, meanwhile, said on May 31 that authorities had already deleted some 758,000 pieces of “illegal and criminous information”, and have investigated and handled over 70,000 cyber crime cases since the start of this year.
Earlier reports said the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) also launched a special campaign to fight against Internet content that is harmful for the growth of minors ahead of International Children’s Day.