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CHINA TIGHTENS CONTROL ON WEB NEWS

CYBERSPACE, 2005 (D.O.T.) – China has set new regulations on Internet news content, widening a campaign of controls it has imposed on other Web sites, such as blogs and discussion groups.

"The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest," the official Xinhua news agency said in announcing the new rules.

The news agency did not detail the rules, but said Internet news sites must "be directed toward serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests."

In China, established news media needs permission from the government to run a news Web site. New operators must register themselves with government information offices. Registration is a feature of rules imposed and aimed at not-for-profit Internet activities, such as personal Web sites and blogs.

China has a dedicated band of cyber police who patrol the Internet with the aim of regulating content. Postings that criticize the government or address sensitive topics are quickly removed, and in many cases, the operators punished.

China’s university on-line discussion groups have been restricted to students, removing a once popular outlet for Chinese keen to publicize their views on sensitive issues. Student users and site managers must register using their real names, and adhere closely to the regulations or face severe penalties.

The two biggest Chinese Web portals include those operated by state-controlled Sina Corp. Both carry news. Access to most foreign news Web sites is routinely blocked.

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