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China bans military personnel from socialising on Internet

Chinese soldiers have also been barred from using the Internet outside the Army without permission.



Beijing: China has banned its two-million
strong military from using social networking and matchmaking
websites "to prevent the leak of sensitive information".

Chinese soldiers have also been barred from
using the Internet outside the army without permission.

The soldiers have been banned from using the
Internet to make friends, as authorities seek to prevent
sensitive information being revealed, the People`s
Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reported.

The new rules also ban them from watching or
listening to political programmes from overseas media.

A joint notice issued by the General Staff
Headquarters and the General Political Department of the PLA
said that the entire army and the People`s Armed Police should
tighten administration over the practice of soldiers making
friends online.

The measures are aimed at preventing violations of law
and to protect military information from being leaked, it
said.

According to it, four types of websites have become
popular among soldiers which included social networking,
matchmaking, blogs and WAP websites for mobile phones in
recent years.

Since social networking and matchmaking websites
usually require users to submit personal information such as
occupation, address and contact details, soldiers risk
revealing the locations of military camps and their contacts
when logging in and communicating with people online, it said.

There have also been cases of soldiers who have
revealed military secrets by uploading personal photos online
either in uniform or during military training, which could be
used by "enemy agents" to gain military intelligence, the
newspaper said.

For soldiers who are about to retire from the army,
posting resumes online for job-hunting purposes is also
dangerous as they may contain military intelligence, it said.

According to the Regulations on Routine Service of
the PLA, soldiers are not allowed to use mass media for
matchmaking or making friends.

Though China banned overseas online social
networking sites like, Facebook and Twitter, the country`s
over 470 million Internet users have developed the Chinese
versions of such networks like qq.com which have tens and
millions of subscribers.

"It`s a prevalently accepted regulation around the
world to limit the use of the Internet by soldiers as the
Internet security situation worsens," He Tongqing, a lawyer in
Beijing, told the paper.

"Once you expose your military identity, online
spies will make you a target for obtaining military
information through various and advanced technology," He said.

The joint instruction called for soldiers to improve
their consciousness of defence and self-discipline, and said
stern action would be taken to punish those who have revealed
military secrets through the Internet, it said.

PTI

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