China Accuses U.S. of Using Facebook, YouTube to Sow Unrest

http://news-updations.blogspot.comA Chinese government-backed think tank has accused the U.S. and other Western governments of using social networking sites like Facebook to spur with political unrest and called for stepped-up scrutiny of the wildly popular sites.

As China's online population is the world's largest — surges past the 400 million mark, its Communist government is growing increasingly sensitive to any online threats to its authority. Although Beijing operates an extensive system of monitoring and censorship to block material deemed subversive, the Internet is still the most open and lively forum for to discussion in a society where traditional media are controlled by the state.

Twitter, for instance, has emerged as a gathering place for the dissidents and other politically minded Chinese wanting to voice their complaints and share information. Though the government routinely bans sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, technologically savvy users can easily jump with China's "Great Firewall" with proxy servers or other alternatives.

According to the report released on this week by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the sites also harbor an external threat. Social networking sites threaten state security because the U.S. and other Western countries are using them to foment the instability, said the report, titled "Development of China's New Media."

"We must pay attention to the potential risks and threats to state security as the popularity of the social networking sites continues to grow," the report said. "We must immediately step up supervision of social networking sites."

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