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The Associated Press

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The materials in the AP file were compiled by The Associated Press. These materials may not be republished without the express written consent of The Associated Press.

July 29, 1998, Wednesday, AM cycle

SECTION: Business News

LENGTH: 349 words

HEADLINE: Report: China to try entrepreneur in new Internet crackdown


    China plans to prosecute a computer engineer for providing 30,000 Chinese e-mail addresses to a U.S.-based Internet democracy magazine, a human rights group said Wednesday.

Lin Hai, the 30-year-old founder and manager of a computer software company in Shanghai, was arrested on charges of "inciting the overthrow of state power" and soon will be tried, according to the Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China.

Prosecutors in Shanghai have completed the indictment against him and plan to hand the case over shortly for trial, the group said. Conviction generally carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Court and police officials in Shanghai said they did not know about the case.

Lin's arrest in April highlights the government's determination to prevent use of the Internet as a tool to challenge Communist Party authority and strict control over information. China has more than 1 million Internet subscribers - most of them drawn from the educated elite - and the numbers of new users are growing rapidly.

Shanghai's Internet police division recently has been reinforced with 150 additional computer experts, the Hong Kong-based center said. Some Chinese Internet users have found their access blocked or even had their computers confiscated by police, the center said.

The publishers of Tunnel, a weekly online magazine featuring dissident writings, were arrested in central Jiangxi province Monday, according to the U.S.-based Chinese Democratic Party.

The party's Web site and other pro-democracy online publications have recently been wiped out by destructive computer programs engineered by China's police, the party said.

The Telecommunications Ministry, which operates the servers that permit access to the Internet, seeks to exert the same heavy-handed control in cyberspace that it enforces over all print media, radio and television in China.

Chinese authorities have moved decisively to close information loopholes since President Clinton finished his visit to China earlier this month, the Information Center said.


LOAD-DATE: July 29, 1998

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