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    Chinese police arrested 15,000 people accused of hacking the websites of private companies, government agencies and banks.

    15,000 Chinese Arrested in Cybercrime, Gov't to 'Clean Up the Internet'

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    Asia & Pacific
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    Amid an increasing crackdown on China’s internet, the country’s officials “react appropriately” in the face of growing cybercrimes harming the government, banks and large companies’ websites.

    Chinese police arrested 15,000 people suspected of cybercrime including the sale of personal data, online fraud and hacking, Chinese officials said on Tuesday.

    A total of 7,400 cases believed to be online crimes have been investigated by Chinese law enforcement since July when China’s Ministry of Public Security launched a six month "clean network action" to fight cybercrime in the face of a growing clash of opinions in society, said the Ministry of Public Security.

    Those arrested were allegedly accused of hacking the websites of private companies, government agencies and banks while uploading classified content, changing sites’ information and defrauding others.

    Chinese authorities have also launched an investigation into inappropriate online language; however this information has not been officially confirmed by the Ministry.

    According to professor Xiao Qiang from the UC Berkeley School of Information in California, a crackdown on cybercrime of this scale is something that China has never faced before, Al Jazeera reported.

    "The general atmosphere is very tight when it comes to freedom of speech," Xiao said, adding that some alleged hackers could be former “freedom of speech” activists.

    The reported arrests prompted public outrage that could have a spiraling effect in the wake of the recent warehouse explosions that killed over 100 people in Tianjin.

    China urges US not to interfere in affairs abroad on rights abuses pretext
    © AP Photo / Ng Han Guan, Pool
    Following the mass arrests of alleged hackers, 50 sites believed to “incite panic” while covering the Tianjin blasts apocryphally have been closed or temporarily suspended by the main internet watchdog in the country, Cyberspace Administration of China.

    The government has been repeatedly blamed for its actions led to the port city disaster.

    Last month over 200 Chinese activists were detained in a 10-day government crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists amid growing international concerns about Internet security of the recent exposés made by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency subcontractor who made headlines in 2013 when he leaked top secret information about the NSA’s surveillance activities.


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