Web patrols to the rescue – just what we need

Big Brother with Chinese characteristics?

Police in China’s capital said Tuesday they will start patrolling the Web using animated beat officers that pop up on a user’s browser and walk, bike or drive across the screen warning them to stay away from illegal Internet content.

Starting Sept. 1, the cartoon alerts will appear every half hour on 13 of China’s top portals, including Sohu and Sina, and by the end of the year will appear on all Web sites registered with Beijing servers, the Beijing Public Security Ministry said in a statement.

…The animated police appeared designed to startle Web surfers and remind them that authorities closely monitor Web activity.

If you are so appalled by what you see on the site that you need police help, not to worry – just click the image of the police officer and you’ll be directed to a police site where you can let them know what the threat is. The police will then swoop in and keep all of us safe.

I thought China was going to focus on cleaning up its image and presenting itself as a real country as the Olympics approaches. These types of unintentionally hilarious stories do little to further their cause.

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

I thought China was going to focus on cleaning up its image and presenting itself as a real country as the Olympics approaches.

Richard, you were hoping for too much. It was never going to be more than a PR exercise.

August 28, 2007 @ 11:45 pm | Comment

http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/20070828/china-virtual-cops/

Searching for Information About Falun Gong. Would You Like to Reconsider?

If the 137 million Chinese who surf the Web weren’t already aware that online dissent is an impossibility, they will be soon.

Beginning Sept. 1, animated beat cops will begin patrolling the nation’s 13 top portals, warning citizens away from material the ruling Communist Party finds politically or morally threatening.

According to the Beijing Public Security Ministry, the Sanrio-esque characters will begin showing up on all sites that are registered with the government by the end of the year. “We will continue to promote new images of the virtual police and update our Internet security tips in an effort to make the image of the virtual police more user-friendly and more in tune with how Web surfers use the Internet,” it said.

August 29, 2007 @ 11:51 am | Comment

oh I am so jealous…I want one of those! cute! gives me some ideas about what the hackers will do in response.

September 3, 2007 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

Will those animated cops also warn Internet users about all those hardcore porn and blood & gore websites which are still accessible in the People’s Republic while informative websites like Wikipedia are not, because they are not compatible with the CCP ideal of a “harmonious society”?

September 3, 2007 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Their animated webcops are still looking friendly for websites that the Chinese governement see as unfriendly. Anyway, webcops or not, the net nanny is still checking what websites we look at.

September 6, 2007 @ 6:55 pm | Comment

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