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China To Tighten Control Of News Sites With Stricter Rules

China intends to further tighten control over the country's digital news and content websites with stricter requirements, after several earlier incidents made the country's top leadership and media monitoring agencies uneasy, Chinese media reported.

The Cyberspace Administration of China held a meeting in Beijing two days ago with state-owned news sites and major commercial sits to discuss new rules to be implemented.

It proposed nearly a dozen new requirements for all digital information aggregator and distributors in China, including the establishment of an editor-in-chief responsibility system and a 7X24 work shift schedule.

An editor-in-chief must assume overall responsibility for all news content on a particular platform. The 24×7 work shift system would allow site administrators to block illegal content around the clock.

In addition, websites are encouraged to improve user registration management, and publish factual information from authorized official news sources.

In the past, the Chinese government censored content after digital news was published online. Websites can now decide on their own to publish legal and lawful content. Any illegal content can be handled after discovery by relevant government agencies.

In a speech in April, Chinese President Xi Jinping said websites must take proactive roles in monitoring and managing news content online to guide public opinion and reflect the will of the people.

In an incident in March, a Chinese commercial news site published a reader letter requesting that Xi Jinping resign from his posts. The website was immediately shut down and the whereabouts of its chief editor remains unknown until now.

In July, Tencent Holdings Ltd's news portal had a typo in a news article relating to an important speech made by Xi Jinping. It led the to the closure of many original news content programs on platforms run by Sina, Sohu, and Netease.



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