China's minister of the State Council Information Office, Wang Chen, claims that the Internet is being misused by many among the hundreds of millions of Chinese Internet users.

The minister presented his assessment of the 10 most worrying Internet usage trends in his country whilst addressing the 8th Forum on Internet Media of China in Chongqing last week, urging the online media to "help foster a society of integrity and honesty."

Topping Chen's threat list was "spreading rumours," followed by sensationalist or "exaggerated" news reportage.

Third on the list was the dissemination of pornography or gambling information, with personal activities such as online threats of violence, invasion of privacy and harassment occupying the fourth spot.

Playing "unhealthy" games or playing in a manner that was not healthy rounded up the Top 5 concerns.

Other trends on the list were: 6.Online fraud 7.Selling shoddy goods 8.Stealing personal financial information 9.Sending junk mail 10.Spreading viruses

Wang said that such trends were "posing a major challenge" to regulating the country''s expanding online community, and he advocated increased supervision of the Internet as a remedy, appealing to Internet stakeholders to help keep objectionable elements out of cyberspace.

In another presentation, Professor Qiu Lufeng from Nanjing University''s law school, said that though offline and online activities were not very different, the anonymous nature of the Internet made it harder for online activities to be regulated.

"The online community is so large that users can hide their real identities, making it hard to trace behaviour to a "real" person. For example, if a person verbally attacks me online, it is troublesome for me to look for or even sue him as I don"t know his real name," Qiu said.

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