Human rights organisation Amnesty International has condemned the Chinese government following its jailing of 30 internet users for sharing their views across the web.
In a statement, the organisation said that China had detained or imprisoned at least 33 people for offences related to internet use.
Among those held was former police officer Li Dawei, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison for downloading articles from pro-democracy websites abroad.
"Everyone detained purely for peacefully publishing their views or other information on the internet or for accessing certain websites are prisoners of conscience," the statement said.
China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said he had not seen the Amnesty report, but claimed that the organisation in the past had often issued statements with no basis.
Amnesty said that the Chinese government has gone so far as to filter foreign sites, create a special internet police and even shut down web pages posting politically incorrect fare.
"Internet users are increasingly caught in a tight web of rules restricting their fundamental human rights," the group's statement said. "Anyone surfing the internet could potentially be at risk of arbitrary detention and imprisonment."
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