Reporter: China Gov’t Shuts Down ‘Investigative Web’ Journalism

In this photo illustration, Beijing Evening newspaper headlines of the Chinese naval fleet exercises displayed in a newsagents shop on July 12, 2016 in Beijing, China.
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

The Chinese Ministry of Communication is ordering Internet news organizations to stop posting “investigative” or “breaking” news.

The order includes reporting in the United States and affects news sites such as: Tencent, Sina, Netease and Phoenix, also called Ifeng, whose web operations are based in Beijing, but TV operations are Hong Kong-based. The order forbids live-blogging and live-streaming. The order does not affect social media and microblogging sites such as WeiBo and WeChat.

News sites are only allowed to post news from government news sources and outlets, according to the order.

The reporter said the offices in Beijing sent a message to all journalists telling them to postpone all stories.

In the past, the reporter said, the government would tell news services to take down stories and the services would comply. “This is a new level of control, for sure. This is the actually shutting down of newsrooms and news operations of not just one company, but all companies.”

A Chinese reporter working in the United States tells Breitbart News that the order comes two days after an executive editor at Tencent was fired for what was described as a keystroke error using Chinese characters. Instead of reporting that Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an address, the slightly different character after the character for “Xi” made the story read that the president spoke like a raving lunatic. Because of the tight censorship of the media, the Chinese have developed an underground code or “secret poetry” to express political ideas banned from public discourse.

In recent months, Chinese government news outlets have warned about the dangers of spreading government information. An example of this came Thursday in the Beijing Youth Daily in response to social media and Internet reports that Beijing’s subways and roads were flooded by heavy rains.

“Some of the information spread via social media was fabricated,” according to the commentary. “Such fictional exaggerations, distortion of the facts and concocting of sensational rumors are usually produced intentionally, whether for grandstanding, venting negative emotions or just as a stimulating pursuit.”

In March, a front page editor of Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis News was fired for “misguiding public opinion” and the paper’s deputy chief editor was given a formal reprimand after the paper ran a front page story that seemed to mock Xi’s call for loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party and combined the story with a photo of a family tossing ashes into the sea of a banker associated with China’s economic opening to the West.

Guangzhou is the the mainland port city directly across from the quasi-city states of Hong Kong and Macau and is considered more hostile to Communist control than other parts of the country.


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