China Goes ‘Full Mao,’ Bans Foreign Online Publishing

Mao (Greg Baker / AFP / Getty)
Greg Baker / AFP / Getty

China’s communist government has issued a directive stating that all “Sino-foreign joint ventures, Sino-foreign cooperative ventures and foreign business units shall not engage in online publishing services.”

The new directive, issued by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, states that companies which have any foreign ownership will be stopped from publishing words, pictures, maps, games, animation and sound of an “informational and thoughtful nature” – unless they have pre-approval from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

Furthermore, the edict dictates that any publisher of online content, including “texts, pictures, maps, games, animations, audios, and videos,” will also be required to store its “necessary technical equipment, related servers, and storage devices” in China.

The announcement by what many refer to as China’s “Ministry of Truth” is financially devastating to big multi-national media and entertainment publishers such as the Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, BBC, the Financial Times, and the New York Times.

Suckered in by the lifting of restrictions and tax incentives, Western multi-media companies have invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the last few years to build online Chinese language news agencies in the world’s second-largest economy.

Many of these media outlets are currently blocked in China, but senior corporate managements had been involved in what were described as positive closed-door negotiations for approvals to launch their services early this year. But the new regulations state that on March 10 there will be a complete ban on all unapproved foreign publishing.

The new directive only allows 100 percent Chinese-owned-and-operated companies to produce any content that appears online. Publication of all online content will also require approval from Chinese authorities and the acquisition of an online publishing license. Companies will be required to self-censor distribution of any information that might be:

  • Harmful to national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity;
  • Disclosing state secrets, endangering national security, or harming national honor and interests;
  • Inciting ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermining national unity, or going against ethnic customs and habits;
  • Spreading rumors, disturbing social order, or undermining social stability;
  • Insulting or slandering others, infringing upon the legitimate rights of others;
  • Endangering social morality or national cultural tradition

Chinese communist founder Mao Zedong famously said, “Communism is a hammer which we use to crush the enemy.”

It appears the latest move by Chinese President Xi Jinping to enforce control over everything the Chinese people can view on the Internet highlights the return of the “Iron Fist” to squash all foreign influences in China.


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