China’s government has somehow taken steps to take even more control of media within the country, even as an already censorship-heavy nation. According to a report by Forbes, a new law indicates that any “text, pictures, maps, games, animation and sound ‘of informational or thoughtful nature’” posted online by foreign publishers — even those who have acted through Sino-foreign agreements in the past — will need strict approval by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.
This is a huge blow to online freedom in China, which already was a grim scenario. Essentially, all foreign publishers will not be able to publish on the Chinese Intranet by themselves — even if they have taken the already complicated steps to secure a partnership with a local publisher. Instead, all content will have to go through the local publisher, which will also be subject to new rules.
This severely inhibits the speed and efficiency of news publications previously allowed to publish in China, like the Associated Press, making it more frustrating and difficult to bring information to the people. China has already thrown many bureaucratic hurdles at foreign publishers — for example, requiring that they have mainland servers so government inspection can be simple — in its attempt to control what its citizens see.
It will be interesting to see how these new regulations unfold, or whether China will bow to the pressure of appearing friendly to the West while keeping its citizens in the dark.