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China issues white paper on Internet policy

BEIJING, June 8 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese government Tuesday published a white paper on its Internet policy, stressing the guarantee of citizens' freedom of speech on the Internet and more intensive application of it.

The white paper, released by the State Council Information Office, introduced facts of the development and use of the Internet in China, and elaborated on the country's basic policies on the Internet.

The Chinese government actively advocates and supports the development and application of the Internet across the country, it said, stressing the government's basic Internet policy: active use, scientific development, law-based administration and ensured security.

By the end of 2009 the number of netizens in China had reached 384 million, 618 times that of 1997 with an annual increase of 31.95 million users.

The Internet had reached 28.9 percent of the total population by the end of 2009, higher than the world average. Its accessibility will be raised to 45 percent of the population in the coming five years, it said.

There were 3.23 million websites running in China last year, which was 2,152 times that of 1997.

Of all the netizens, 346 million used broadband and 233 million used mobile phones to access the Internet. They had moved on from dialing the access numbers to broadband and mobile phones.

"These statistics make China among the top of the developing countries in developing and popularizing the Internet," the paper said.

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