Chinese President Hu Jintao called on Saturday for stricter government management of the Internet while calls for gatherings inspired by uprisings in the Middle East spread on Chinese websites abroad.
The messages have scant chance of inspiring protests in China whose one-party government has plenty of censorship controls in place and where most Chinese have difficulty gaining access to overseas websites because of a censorship “fire wall.”
But Hu told a meeting attended by top Communist Party leaders that despite rising prosperity, China was facing deepening social conflicts that would test the party’s ability to maintain firm control.
Hu did not mention the Internet-fed unrest that has shaken authoritarian governments across the Middle East and unseated Egypt’s long-time President Hosni Mubarak. But he told Chinese officials they needed to come to grips with “virtual society” in their nation with some 450 million Internet users.