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China: Censorship

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment she has made of the decision by the Chinese Government to restrict the number of internet outlets. (126709)

We are aware of the Chinese Government’s announcement that they intend to restrict the number of new internet cafes and bars opening this year. We are concerned by any measures that could further limit freedom of information in China. We raised our concerns about restrictions on access to information at the recent UK-China Human Rights Dialogue on 5 February.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of people using the internet in China over the last two years; and what her assessment is of the level of restrictions placed on internet users in China. (126710)

We estimate that there are more than 130 million internet users in China (9 per cent. of all Chinese), an increase of £36 million since 2004. We are concerned by China's continued restrictive regime on access to information, including the blocking of websites and tighter controls on blogs and search engines. We raised our concerns most recently at the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue on 5 February.