Beijing's Public Security Bureau (PSB) will spend 80 million renminbi ($18.6 million) to upgrade its online monitoring capabilities, the Xinhua News Agency reported Sunday.
Called the Golden Shield Project, the Chinese capital's PSB signed a contract Sunday with Qinghua University for a digital wide-band network to be built by mid-2002, the report said. The network will be "used to store data concerning suspects, anti-smuggling, (finger) print comparison, bullet mark diagnosis and DNA searches," the report said.
The report also stated that the network "will enable the police to carry out online monitoring and long-distance training."
The announcement represents a rare admission by China that it monitors online content consumed and created by its citizens. China has arrested and sentenced so-called "cyber-dissidents" to prison terms for posting material critical of the government on the Internet.
In mid-August, Internet publisher Huang Qi was tried for uploading material about the June 4, 1989, crackdown on student-led pro-democracy demonstrations to his Sichuan province-based Web site. A verdict has not been announced.
Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou are known to have active cyber-crime units, based on Chinese newspaper and media reports.
Just three days prior to the Qinghua-PSB deal's announcement, The New York Times reported that an US Central Intelligence Agency-backed was in advanced discussions to develop a network that would allow Chinese Internet users to circumvent Chinese government Web censorship efforts.