On September 10, Xinhua News Agency published a new regulation for foreign news agencies that publish news directly in China. It requests foreign news agencies to get permission from Xinhua News Agency or go through entities authorized by Xinhua News Agency to publish their news, and Xinhua has the right to select the news that foreign agencies can publish in China.
The regulation, titled “Measures for Administering the Release of News and Information in China by Foreign News Agencies,” also stipulated that foreign news agencies could be warned or banned for publishing certain news and even get their licenses revoked.
The regulation also requires mainland China users to go through entities authorized by Xinhua to subscribe services from foreign news agencies. It is not allowed to directly subscribe, compile, or reprint news from foreign news agencies. The regulation specially points out that news agencies and related organizations from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are also required to follow this regulation when publishing news in China.
The regulation raises the question that if an emergency such as an earthquake happens during the 2008 Olympic Games, are all foreign media in Beijing allowed to report only after Xinhua has issued the official news?
Two months ago, despite strong opposition, the regime still went ahead and passed its “Law for Handling Emergency Situations” It gives local authorities power to punish media for reporting natural disasters, accidents, public health incidents and public safety incidents not according to the regime's “official” way. Famous Chinese commentator Liu Xiaobo commented that this was “an evil law that strangles the throat of news.”
The editor-in-chief of Hong Kong's Open Magazine, Cai Yongmei, said that because there have been too many breaking events happening in China, the regime is fearful of losing control, hence it tries to strengthen its control on the media through legislation. Cai said that even though the Chinese Communist regime has strengthened the blockade on news, people can still obtain information from the Internet.
Epoch Times columnist Wang Yifeng said that two months after the “Law for Handling Emergency Situations” was passed, the regime hastily passed another law to regulate news. These actions clearly reveal the regime's fear of, and its oppression of, freedom of press.
Wang also said that we now live in the Information Age. The regime's control cannot have any substantial effect. Under increasing complaints from its people and the irresistible tide of quitting the Chinese Communist Party, the new law appears as the regime's final act of desperation on the eve of its collapse. Besides, in light of the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games, this new law obviously violates the spirit of the games and thus could only bring huge negative effects to China.