China launches Internet censorship watchdog

China launched a state Internet censorship watchdog on Wednesday, the Chinese State Council said on its web site.

The State Internet Information Office will restrict internet content, as well as manage online government materials, and IP address registration.

China has stepped up restrictions on its already heavily censored Internet since a wave of protests and revolutions spread across North Africa and the Middle East, organized largely through social networking websites.

Chinese Internet users are already restricted by the so-called Great Firewall, which limits access to news and information.

The Russian government has dismissed rumors that it is harboring similar concerns to the Chinese authorities about the growing influence of the Internet and says it will not restrict websites.

“It is not possible to restrict anything,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

BEIJING, May 4 (RIA Novosti)


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