China certainly doesn't have the greatest reputation for freedom of the press, so it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that their new regulations for online news sites seem to clearly limit what can be written about. They claim this will help "standardize the management of news and information," by which they mean that it will make it easier for them to censor the news online. Specifically, news sites have been told they can "only post news on current events and politics." What? Sports is out? Also, anything posted must be "healthy and civilized news and information that is beneficial to the improvement of the quality of the nation, beneficial to its economic development and conducive to social progress." In other words, only post stuff that the Chinese government likes. You may recall that after the original SARS outbreak, the Chinese government was accused of blocking information about it. You could certainly see that they might find news of something like SARS to not be "beneficial to the quality of the nation." The reality here is that this is nothing new -- but just reaffirms that the government is going to censor news, both online and off. And, since they've now required all website owners to register with the government, they'll be better able to track down those who disobey these vague rules. At least that news site that only posts happy news will have a new market of 1.3 billion people.
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