The city of Beijing will recruit tens of thousands of volunteers to monitor the Internet, state media said on Friday, echoing decades of mobilizing senior citizens and other volunteers to patrol its neighborhoods.
The move comes as foreign computer makers asked China to reconsider a plan to require the Green Dam Internet filtering software be bundled with all new computers from July 1.
Earlier this week, local media reported that the city is developing its own Internet filtering software. That software, like Green Dam, is billed as a measure against pornography.
The volunteers would be asked to report to the authorities should they come across any lewd content, or find Internet users exhibiting uncivilized behavior when surfing on the Internet, Xinhua said.
The aim is to shield the minors from unwanted harm they might be subjected to on the Internet, an official surnamed Zhou from the Capital Enhancement Committee Office was cited as saying.
Some of the volunteers would be placed in Internet cafes to stop minors from entering and to monitor content, he said.
All volunteers would register with their real names and would be under the command of CCECO, he said.
China already employs an army of Internet censors, who identify websites to be blocked and monitor chat rooms for any content deemed inappropriate or subversive.
China's Internet watchdog on Thursday condemned the Chinese-language version of Google on Thursday for disseminating pornographic and vulgar information.
(Reporting by Beijing newsroom, editing by Lucy Hornby)