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Database ensures Big Brother is watching in China

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Apr 7 (Reuters) China has recorded details of more than 96 per cent of its population on a police database, state media reported today, supplementing Internet and other state-sanctioned urveillance.

Since the 2003 launch of its ''Gold Shield Programme'', the Public Security Bureau had collected information on about 1.25 billion of the country's 1.3 billion people.

''It has helped police uncover many criminal cases,'' Liu Shuo, a police official, was quoted by Xinhua news agency as telling a news conference yesterday, adding that over 20 percent of criminal cases last year were solved with help from the database.

The database is just one way in which China keeps tabs on its citizens.

An estimated 30,000 Web police monitor the surfing habits of China's 110 million internet users, and restrict access to Web sites and blogs posting sensitive material, including topics related to democracy or independence for Tibet and Taiwan.

REUTERS KD SP1057

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