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Number of Chinese Internet Users Rises Sharply

The number of Chinese using the Internet has risen sharply to include almost a third of the population.

A government-backed agency, the China Internet Network Information Center, reported Thursday that the number of Internet users has grown by 36 million since it last reported the official tally in late 2009.

It said about 277 million people go online using mobile devices such as cell phones.

China's government, which keeps tight control on traditional media, has tried to control online information as well, through censorship and Web monitoring.

Beijing's attempt to control what people read and say on the Internet was highlighted by its recent dispute with the Google company, which provides a popular search engine. The American company was told its license to operate in China would not be renewed unless it stopped its practice of automatically transferring Chinese users to an uncensored website in Hong Kong.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.