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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hackers deface Beijing’s security website

In China, Falun Gong practitioners are persecuted to death for internet related activities.

Financial Times by Mure Dickie in Beijing - June 20 2005 03:00 - Chinese hackers have defaced the website of a police-run security company that is leading a new effort to strengthen the Communist government's control over the internet.

The action by unknown hackers against the website of the Beijing General Security Service Co comes amid its drive to recruit a corps of 4,000 "internet security guards" to monitor the online activities of people in the Chinese capital.

"A security company that cannot even protect its own website can hardly talk about security," the hackers wrote in a notice that appeared on the site's news section last week.

The action against Beijing General Security underlines the challenges Chinese officials face in their campaign to tame the internet.

However, the company's continuing drive to recruit online overseers underlines Beijing's determination to prevent the internet from posing any challenge to the Communist party's monopoly on political power.

"Agents of hostile forces at home and abroad are using the internet to engage in propaganda, infiltration, incitement and sabotage," an official of Beijing General Security said. "Strengthening management of the internet is of special significance for the strengthening of the party's ability to govern."

The guards whom Beijing General Security is recruiting will be assigned to around 3,000 "internet access work-units", including telecommunications operators and internet service providers as well as 800 internet cafés around the capital. Activities such as internet fraud, promoting the banned Falun Gong sect or online pornography are to be stopped and reported to police.

China already uses a range of methods including automated scanning to crack down on online activity. Local websites are regularly shut down, thousands of overseas sites are blocked and internet dissidents are routinely harassed or jailed.

International companies that operate internet businesses are expected to support such efforts and some have proved willing to do so. Microsoft’s new Chinese joint-venture internet portal, for example, has been banned from using a range of potentially politically sensitive words including “democracy” and “freedom” to label personal websites set up using its free online blog service, MSN Spaces.