|Desiree Sison |||Feb 20, 2016 04:54 AM EST|
(Photo : Getty Images) China has banned all foreign firms from publishing online in the mainland as a way of policing digital media over concerns that an uncensored cyberspace could jeopardize domestic security.
China, in an effort to minimize Western influence, has banned all foreign firms from publishing online in the mainland, according to new rules issued this week.
A new directive issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology says that companies, which are at least in part, owned by foreigners, will be banned from publishing "words, books, pictures, maps, games, animation and sound of an informational and thoughtful nature" online unless they have approval from the state.
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The new directive categorically stated that only wholly Chinese-owned companies will be able to publish online, subject to strict self-censorship in line with the government's existing policies.
Chinese websites are considered to be among the world's most censored with Beijing blocking many foreign internet websites with a system critics describe as the "Great Firewall of China."
The directive, which will take effect next month, is seen by many as the latest move to tighten control over what people in China can view on the internet in an attempt to rein in public speech and thought.
Part of the rules directs Chinese publishers cooperating with foreign media to seek the approval of the state before publishing any works online.
Chinese publishing expert Xu Yi said that the implications of the rules were unclear.
"I think these regulations provide a legal basis for the government to manage foreign companies setting up websites in China," he said.
"I don't think this means that websites opened by foreigners in China will be forced to close...it all depends on the Chinese government's intentions".
Experts say the rise of new media has prompted China to police digital and social media by introducing new legislation believing that an uncensored cyberspace would jeopardize domestic security.
"China is still focused more on maintaining the social stability and national security interests when it comes to making policies on the internet industry, while caring less about the commercial and individual interests," according to Zhang Zhian, director of the school of communication and design at Sun Yat-sen University.
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