China Defends Internet Regulation Policies

China defended its restrictions on Internet content on Thursday, one day after four representatives from major U.S. technology companies appeared before Congress to testify about their cooperation with the government.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was asked to comment on criticism by members of the U.S. Congress on Wednesday during hearings by the House Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, which charged Yahoo Inc., Google Inc., Microsoft Corp., and Cisco Systems with allowing themselves to become a tool for controlling public opinion.

“I would like to stress that it is a common practice of every country to regulate Internet in accordance with law, so as to ensure its development in a healthy and orderly way to the benefit of the general public,” said the spokesman according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“In so doing, China draws on the experiences from such countries as the U.S. and we have no difference in our fundamental goal.”

There have been concerns, however, among human rights and religious freedom activists over China’s policies. Prior to the Wednesday hearing, China Aid Association Chairman Bob Fu said that Chinese Christians were among many of the more than 100 million Internet users who would be affected.

“Christians are forming Internet chatting rooms to discuss the Gospel, [and] their church. It’s been increasingly influential to the ministry of the Gospel in China,” he said according to Family News in Focus.

Currently, the Chinese government uses its agencies to police cybercafes and also monitor government computers for restricted content. It also requires Internet companies to maintain full records of Internet access for at least 60 days, according to the Council of Foreign relations, which calls itself a non-partisan resource for information and analysis.