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In the latest in a series of attempts to control an information industry rapidly spinning out of the Communist Party's control, China Wednesday banned discussion of "state secrets" on the Internet.

The State Bureau of Secrecy issued a circular saying Internet users are prohibited from sending e-mail containing state secrets and from discussing state secrets in Internet chat rooms or on bulletin boards.

Under Chinese law, a state secret can be almost anything not officially released to the public, from crop reports to news about an earthquake.

The 20-article circular was the most recent in a spate of attempts by China's authorities to control the Internet and limit its effect on China's closed political system.

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