Chinese authorities have released a new set of regulations for online media, raising concerns about tightening control over freedom of expression by the Communist regime.
Contained in the ordinance, released on April 28 by the Cyberspace Administration of China, is a clause saying that persons responsible for managing flagged sites will be summoned by state personnel in case of violations.
Internet censorship in China is mostly managed by individual websites, which are encouraged to toe the Party line before the Party steps in to rectify things for them. The new ordinance increases the number of conditions that, if met by online media, result in automatic state intervention.
Nine new conditions were included, such as not controlling illegal online information in a timely manner, failure to implement monitoring of online comments, or reporting, reproduction, or deletion of news information to improperly gain traffic.
In an interview with new York-based New Tang Dynasty Television, mainland Chinese writer Zhu Xinxin says that the real intention of the regulations of such rule is to prevent people from gaining true information.
“It’s using legal power to suppress the freedom of speech,” she said.
“It [the regulation] transfers the pressure to these networks, and make the networks into de facto law enforcement organizations. They will block online speech in accordance with instructions from the communist central authorities. Website managers will become the regime’s accomplices.”
Huang Qi, founder of 64tianwang.com, a well-known Chinese civil and human rights news website, has been arrested and detained multiple times since he started the site in 1999.
“I believe that [the new regulations] can’t stop the spread of human rights information in mainland China, and neither can it stop people from revealing corruption. We hope that the authorities can treat the dissemination information rationally,” Huang said.
Last year, regulations released to govern Chinese social media WeChat forbid users from posting political news without authorization or to use pseudonyms. Similar rules hold valid for other Chinese social media such as Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging service.