China’s virtual cops pinpoint web dissent – Mure Dickie

From the Financial Times:

 Images  Article Uploadfiles 200601 20060102092327204  Images  Article Uploadfiles 200601 20060102092326277With their big blue blinking eyes and their quirky personal websites, there is no denying the cuteness of the cartoon cops at the front line of China’s battle for control of the internet.

But the role played by Jingjing and Chacha, the animated online icons recently introduced by police in the southern Chinese boomtown of Shenzhen, is entirely serious.

The cartoon couple patrol the city’s news and discussion websites to scare off anyone who might be tempted to use online anonymity to break China’s laws, says Chen Minli, director of the Shenzhen City Public Security Bureau’s Internet Surveillance Centre.

“Now internet users know the police are watching them,” Ms Chen says in an interview at the Bureau’s gleaming new 28-storey building in central Shenzhen.

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