China Decrees That All News On Websites Must Funnel Through Government Approval

from the flailing dept

Fake news and hoax news stories are annoying, to be sure. I’ve been fooled a few times by hoax stories, as I imagine most other folks who do what we do have been. And, while the strategies taken by folks like Facebook haven’t resulted in ending the scourge of fake news, I can understand the intent. There are probably better strategies out there, though they are harder to achieve. Strategies like educating the public on how to verify internet stories they see. Or instilling in people a healthy amount of skepticism starting at a young age so that they don’t fall victim to every hoax out there. Or just sending around to all of our family members and demanding that they run any outrage through that filter first before bringing it to the dinner table.

The point is that there are good ways to combat fake news. Here with an example of a terrible way to do so is China, which is happily riding the annoyance at hoax news to the happy conclusion of further centralizing control of the internet through its government.

China’s powerful internet censorship body has further tightened its grip on online news reports by warning all news or social network websites against publishing news without proper verification, state media reports. The instruction, issued by the Cyberspace Administration of China, came only a few days after Xu Lin, formerly the deputy head of the organisation, replaced his boss, Lu Wei, as the top gatekeeper of Chinese internet affairs. The central internet censorship organ ordered its regional subordinates to fully fulfil their duties on the basis of content management, strengthen supervision and inspection, and severely punish fake news or news that deviated from the facts.

“All websites should bear the key responsibility to further streamline the course of reporting and publishing of news, and set up a sound internal monitoring mechanism among all mobile news portals [and the social media chat websites] Weibo or WeChat,” Xinhua reported the directive as saying. “It is forbidden to use hearsay to create news or use conjecture and imagination to distort the facts,” it said.

The facts as the Chinese government sees them, it should be said. And that’s really the point of all of this. This isn’t about hoax news stories; it’s about the reporting of anything at all that would embarrass the Chinese government. This kind of censorship funnel would be horrific under any scenario and under any governing body, but given that the Chinese government lost its collective mind and went censor-crazy just because Lady Gaga met with the Dalai Lama, this law is like giving a life-eraser to an eight-year-old with a bad attitude.

In addition to the censorship by government clearly embedded in this new law, so too is there an attempt to chill anyone from actually speaking to reporters within the country.

“No website is allowed to report public news without specifying the sources, or report news that quotes untrue origins,” the circular warned, adding that the fabrication of news or distortion of the facts were also strictly prohibited.

And, just like that, you chill the water for anyone that might talk to a reporter, because that reporter is required to name his or her sources. It’s a subtle bit of tyranny that’s impressive for a government typically more ham-fisted than that.

Oh, and you’ll never guess what excuse the Chinese government is trotting out to excuse this kind of massive censorship.

Officials say internet restrictions, including the blocking of popular foreign websites such as Google and Facebook, are needed to ensure security in the face of rising threats, such as terrorism, and also to stop the spread of damaging rumours.

Terrorism…and the spread of damaging rumors. I can assure you this law has only to do with one of those threats, and it isn’t terrorism, and it isn’t “rumors” the Chinese government is worried about.

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Comments on “China Decrees That All News On Websites Must Funnel Through Government Approval”

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Anonymous Coward says:

The only thing the Chinese government is scared of is the 1 billion chinese. If they start moving even the 1 million soldiers army will not be of use against such a stampede. Therefore the government will give the people as little as possible to get excited about. From government perspective logical, from democratic perspective outrageous. Then again, even though China is officially a people’s republic, it never was about the people and Always about power (in this case through the communist party, before that the emperors and ruling classes). Chinese gov is still scared from Tiananmen and see it as a warning against any too liberal policies concerning criticism.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re:

[Rant warning]

When you get right down to it, there is only one type of government on earth, regardless of the fancy label they each choose: democracy, oligarchy, dictatorship, communism, fascism, royal dominion, whatever – they are all there for the same reason and they all accomplish the exact same goals.

And what is the true purpose of all governments?

The short version:

To make and enforce laws that insure the wealthy and their friends get the lion’s share of the national capital output of the working population and that the population continues to work and make profits for the members of government and their friends, by insuring that working for a living will never make one rich, or even well off enough to cause trouble, through enforcement of these laws and with a little assistance from clandestine banking and economic manipulation by government members and their friends.

And what is really cool, is that daily, Americans can watch and marvel at how their phony Democratic government shrugs off its now extremely thin facade of Champion of Freedom and Truth, in order to finalize the full conquest of America and the return to a Fuedal Utopia for the Fascist Billionaires of the USA.

Cronyism is not simply an aspect of government.
It is its main purpose.

And remember, as mechanicals become more able to replace humans in the work force, humans become less and less useful to the fascists, and robots become more and more desirable as a slave labor force.

Fascists absolutely drool over the notion of free, self feeding, self fixing, self reproducing mechanical slaves, as such would eliminate the horrid business cost associated with keeping a human labor force fed, housed, and healthy enough to work.

As a population, Americans who are not millionaires plus and who do not work directly for a millionaire or billioniare fascist (minions), are about to be put on the endangered species list, because the wealthy American Fascists will very soon, no longer need their extremely expensive “services”. 🙂

Does the word “cull” ring a bell.

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The best and most effective way to achieve that is to either rail against “global warming hysteria” while quietly ensuring that their own properties are protected against the onset of wacky weather events, etc. so that they’re not the ones adversely affected, to whinge about Socialism whenever someone suggests a single-payer, or God forbid, a tax-funded health service, and to encourage the expansion of the right to bear arms so that civilians can obtain military-grade weapons.

Why launch a direct assault if they can get us to attack each other and do the job for them?

Excuse me, I’m off to buy more tinfoil for my hat.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Actually you are exactly on target.

Primarily, the fascists seek to install martial law, but in such a manner as makes it appear that the Government is simply doing what it must to return law and order to the streets and thus, remain “innocent” historically.

What most folks do not quite understand, is that the fascists are doing everything they can think of to get Americans to “take up arms”.

They don’t really care if its a racial war or religious war, or a war to “take back america”, just so long as the people are armed and killable and they can install martial law without looking like the bad guys.

Consider momentarily, just how much the Military Material Manufacturers of America are drooling, thinking about a Civil War – where their products can be deployed legally right here at home.

Double their profit over night, as every Semi-Military Police Force in America dons their USAF RoboCop Gear, grabs their War Weapons and jumps into their new Surplus Military Assault Vehicles, ready and raring to kick unruly civi butt.

The “anger” in America is at an all time high. Now if the forces of Evil can just push the civilians a little farther… its Party Time. 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

“fabrication of news or distortion of the facts were also strictly prohibited” So in other-words… No news will ever air in China. If only we could apply the same rules to Fox News. But on the bright side they will finally get rid of all mention of a certain square *Chinese troops bursting into the room*

Nothing is wrong. Please go back to your life. Oh Look, there is a shiny Eevee behind you.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

“Fake news and hoax news stories are annoying, to be sure. I’ve been fooled a few times by hoax stories, as I imagine most other folks who do what we do have been.”

‘real’ (sic) news and reality news stories are annoying, to be sure. WE have been fooloed ALL THE TIME by ‘real’ stories, as i imagine most other folks who do what we do have been.


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