FROM THE AFP:


China will tighten controls on Internet blogs and webcasts in a response to new technologies that have allowed cyber citizens to avoid government censorship efforts, state press reported Tuesday.
Following a call from President Hu Jintao in January to "purify" the Internet, the ruling Communist Party will introduce new regulations targeting blogs and webcasts, one of the nation's chief censors was cited as saying.

"Advanced network technologies such as blogging and webcasting have been mounting new challenges to the government's ability to supervise the Internet," Press and Publication Administration head Long Xinmin said, according to Xinhua news agency.

Long said the government was in the middle of drafting the new regulations.

No specific details of the new rules were reported, but Long said they would lead to "a more healthy and active Internet environment," according to Xinhua.

The Chinese government, which has long maintained strict controls over traditional media, have this year ramped up a campaign to combat the rising influence of the Internet.

"Whether we can cope with the Internet is a matter that affects the development of socialist culture, the security of information and the stability of the state," Hu said in January as he called for the medium to be "purified."

Aside from the new regulations, the central government also announced this month it would not allow any new Internet cafes to be registered this year.

Experts say 30,000-40,000 Internet police are also employed to implement the country's extensive Internet censorship system, known as the "Great Firewall of China."

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders labels China's government an "enemy of the Internet." It said last month that 52 people were languishing in Chinese jails for online activities deemed inappropriate by authorities