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If the 137 million Chinese who surf the Web weren’t already aware that online dissent is an impossibility, they will be soon.
Beginning Sept. 1, animated beat cops will begin patrolling the nation’s 13 top portals, warning citizens away from material the ruling Communist Party finds politically or morally threatening.
According to the Beijing Public Security Ministry, the Sanrio-esque characters will begin showing up on all sites that are registered with the government by the end of the year. “We will continue to promote new images of the virtual police and update our Internet security tips in an effort to make the image of the virtual police more user-friendly and more in tune with how Web surfers use the Internet,” it said.