China held a drill to shut down harmful websites 

Vastavam web:  China held a drill on Thursday with internet service providers to practice taking down websites deemed harmful, as the country’s censors tighten control ahead of a sensitive five-yearly political reshuffle set to take place later this year. Internet data centres (IDC) and cloud companies – which host website servers – were ordered to participate in a three-hour drill to hone their “emergency response” skills, according to at least four participants that included the operator of Microsoft’s cloud service in China.An officer who answered the phone in the Guangzhou public security bureau confirmed the drill but declined to elaborate.

President Xi Jinping has overseen a tightening of China’s cyberspace controls, including tough new data surveillance and censorship rules. This push is now ramping up ahead of an expected consolidation of power at the Communist Party Congress this autumn.China’s Ministry of Public Security and China’s cyberspace administration did not respond to faxed requests for comment.Several service providers, including 21Vianet Group and VeryCloud, issued notices to users, warning of possible temporary service disruptions on Thursday afternoon as a result of the drill, which were confirmed to Reuters by their customer service representatives.21 Vianet Group did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

China has been tightening its grip on the internet, including a recent drive to crack down on the usage of VPNs to bypass internet censorship, enlisting the help of state-owned telecommunication service providers to upgrade the so-called Great Firewall