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Circular on Further Cementing the Administration of Business Sites of Internet Access Services

(April 3, 2001,Guo-Ban-Fa (2001) No 21, announced by the General Office of the State Council)

People’s governments of all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, departments and commissions under the State Council, and organs directly under the State Council:

In recent years, many information networks have been launched in China’s various localities, and the information network services industry has undergone a buoyant development. According to incomplete statistics, by the end of 2000 Internet users across the country numbered 22.5 million -- 20.5 percent of whom accessed the Internet through Internet access services business sites. In some big cities, the number of such business sites topped 1,000. The emergence of these sites has played a positive role in promoting the networking of information and providing a convenient channel to disseminate network knowledge among young people, widen their views and broaden their minds. However, we should be aware that outnumbered Internet access services business sites, such as Internet bars that are managed and operated in a disorderly fashion and contain elements of eroticism, gambling, violence, superstition, etc., have posed a serious threat to the healthy growth of young people and social stability. With approval from the State Council, the Ministry of the Information Industry, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Culture and State Administration for Industry and Commerce have jointly formulated Measures on the Administration of Internet Access Services Business Sitesin recent days, which should be implemented in an earnest manner. In order to strengthen the management of Internet access services business sites, such as Internet bars, and promote the sound and orderly development of such sites, it is hereby notified as follows:

I. All localities and relevant departments must earnestly study and implement the important thought of the Three Represents put forward by Jiang Zemin and strengthen leadership and initiate strong actions to cement the regulation and administration of Internet access services business sites in the spirit of duty to the Party and the people and in an effort to maintain social stability, safeguard the healthy growth of young people and advance the construction of a socialist spiritual civilization.

II. It is the responsibility of the telecommunications administrative organs of the provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities to jointly organize and coordinate the launch of a specialized rectification of Internet access services business sites, such as Internet bars, within their localities respectively for three months starting April 5, 2001 with the departments of public security, culture and administrations for industry and commerce. The focus should be on the rectification of disorderliness and scattering of such sites and the punishment enforced for violating the laws or regulations. During the rectification, re-registration should be implemented for those Internet access services business sites that have been approved and registered by relevant departments in strict compliance to the provisions of the Measures on the Administration of Internet Access Services Business Sites. Failure to meet the conditions will result in site shutdowns by the relevant departments; a limited time period will be imposed for altering or canceling procedures with the administrations for industry and commerce. Industry and commerce administrations reserve the right to revoke business licenses if the altering or canceling procedures are not met. Articles obtained through illegal operations and other gains procured will be confiscated in the absence of an approval, proper business license, or complete registration procedure. Violations of the relevant laws, regulations and administrative rules, such as the Decision on Securing Internet Safety in business activities, will result in an investigation and punishment by the relevant departments. The Internet access service provider shall also suspend access.

III. All localities and departments shall not approve new Internet access services business site before the completion of this centralized rectification. After its completion, the approval work shall be carried out in strict compliance to the Measures on the Administration of Business Sites of Internet Access Services.

IV. Where Internet access services business sites, such as Internet bars, violate relevant provisions, not only shall the operator’s involvement be investigated, but leading persons or other directly responsible parties will also be investigated and punished accordingly. Local telecommunications administrative organs and public security departments, culture, and administrations for industry and commerce departments at all levels shall, in strict compliance to the Measures on the Administration of Business Sites of Internet Access Services and under the unified leadership of local Party committees and people’s governments, fulfill their functions and bear their responsibilities respectively; coordinate with and support each other to establish a sound and effective supervisory and administrative mechanism; and jointly do a good job in the rectification, approval, supervision and inspection of Internet access services business sites, and promote the healthy and orderly development of these sites.

V. All localities and relevant departments should attach due importance to and strengthen the leadership over the specialized cleanup underway of Websites that publish news and operate BBS in connection with the specialized rectification of Internet access services business sites. Relevant departments shall establish a sound, early checkup system and strengthen supervision and inspection in strict compliance to the Measures on the Administration of Business Sites of Internet Access Services.Electronic bulletins operated by Internet service providers shall comply with the rules featuring the responsibility of the forum leader and registration of users. Operators of Websites violating relevant laws, regulations or administrative rules in the specialized rectification shall be punished.