September 26, 2005

China’s Firewall, Built With American Bricks [2:04 pm]

The title phrase comes from a piece on today’s Morning Edition: China Tightens Its Restrictions for News Media on the Internet

China on Sunday imposed more restrictions intended to limit the news and other information available to Internet users, and it sharply restricted the scope of content permitted on Web sites.

The rules are part of a broader effort to roll back what the Communist Party views as a threatening trend toward liberalization in the news media. Taken together, the measures amount to a stepped-up effort to police the Internet, which has become a dominant source of news and information for millions of urban Chinese.

Major search engines and portals like Sina.com and Sohu.com, used by millions of Chinese each day, must stop posting their own commentary articles and instead make available only opinion pieces generated by government-controlled newspapers and news agencies, the regulations stipulate.

The rules also state that private individuals or groups must register as “news organizations” before they can operate e-mail distribution lists that spread news or commentary. Few individuals or private organizations are likely to be allowed to register as news organizations, meaning they can no longer legally distribute information by e-mail.

Existing online news sites, like those run by newspapers or magazines, must “give priority” to news and commentary pieces distributed by the leading national and provincial news organs.

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