CYBERSPACE, 2005 (D.O.T.) - China 's ambassador to the United Nations has called for international controls on the Internet.

Chinese Ambassador Sha Zukang told a UN conference that controls should be, “multilateral, transparent and democratic, with the full involvement of governments, the private sector, civil society and international organizations.

"It should ensure an equitable distribution of resources, facilitate access for all and ensure a stable and secure functioning," he said.

Sha said China opposes the "monopolization" of the Internet by one state, a reference to the Untied States, which ultimately controls the digital medium.

"It is of crucial importance to conduct research on establishing a multilateral governance mechanism that is more rational and just and more conducive to the Internet development in a direction of stable, secure and responsible functioning and more conducive to the continuous technological innovation," he added.

China's communist government fears the Internet will dilute Beijing's control over its population, as information passes unfiltered throughout the country and outside of strict government censorship.

China strictly prohibits any public criticism of the ruling communist party and closely monitors and censors Internet usage. Chinese security forces routinely raid Internet cafes, businesses and private homes and arrest people who violate China’s strict rules.

Sha said China has 94 million Internet users out of a worldwide total of about 810 million.

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