China has formerly agreed to tackle unsolicited mail by signing up to the London Action Plan on Spam Enforcement Collaboration.
After months of discussions, British Ambassador Christopher Hum and US Federal Trade Commissioner Jon Leibowitz attended a ceremony in which China agreed to work to improve its poor spam record.
"We have long been keen to engage with China on the issue of spam, in particular because China is probably the second biggest source of spam in the world," said UK e-Commerce Minister Alun Michael. "During our Presidency of the EU and beyond, we will continue to intensify our activities with Chinese and other partners to address spam and viruses, and therefore contribute to the continued development and safety of the global information society."
China is currently working on its own anti-spam law which it hopes will reduce spam coming from its networks. However, despite whispers suggesting the law is imminent, progress appears to have stalled over the last few months.
Some industry watchers are applauding the move but urging caution, suggesting the problem does not lie with individual countries, but with the ISPs that allow spam to be hosted on their networks.
"It's great news to hear that China will be joining international efforts to fight spam. Greater global cooperation in tackling the scourge has to be welcomed," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at antivirus company Sophos. "However, computer users need to be aware that the fight isn't over and they're unlikely to see the amount of spam they're receiving dry up overnight. The best way to defend yourself is to run anti-spam software and pressure your ISP to offer industrial strength protection against spam and viruses."