The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has banned the use of blogs, micro blogs and other social web sites by Chinese military personnel. It has described the ban as part of its grim Internet struggle.
2. A report on this carried by the Party-owned “People’s Daily” on June 2, 2001, is annexed below. (3-6-11)
(The writer Mr B Raman, is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail” firstname.lastname@example.org )
China’s PLA bans soldiers from social websites
Making online friends could play into the hands of the “enemy”, according to China’s People’s Liberation Army, which has said its roughly 2.3 million soldiers will be banned from using social media.
The world’s largest military force has notified service men and women that it will strictly enforce the ban to “safeguard military secrets and the purity and solidarity” of the PLA, state media said this week.
The People’s Liberation Daily, the armed forces’ official newspaper, said passing on personal details such as a soldier’s address, duties or contact details could risk revealing the location of military bases.
It added that particular risks exist in users posting photos of themselves, such as during training, which could divulge military capabilities and equipment.
The ban was included in regulations announced last year that proscribed soldiers from launching websites or writing blogs, the paper added.
But in a sign that the ban was apparently being ignored in a country where social media are wildly popular, the military brass has taken the step of re-emphasizing the restriction, warning of a “grim struggle” on the Internet.
Officers and soldiers must be made to understand the “real dangers” of making friends online and to “strengthen their knowledge of the enemy situation,” it said, without elaborating.
China has nearly half a billion online users, according to official figures, and Chinese-language social media sites similar to Facebook and Twitter – which are blocked by the country’s censors – count hundreds of millions of users.