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Asia Minute: China Cracks Down on Internet News

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Tropical Storm Darby is gone, but humid weather lingers across much of the state. Teams are also cleaning up after some extensive flooding. Recent floods in China have been much more destructive—and apparently have led to a crackdown on the news media. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute. 

China has banned original reporting on internet news sites….its latest restrictions on the media.  That official word came out over the weekend, from the country’s top internet regulator—the Cyberspace Administration of China.  It applies to some of the biggest online portals in China—including Sina, Sohu,  NetEase, and Tencent.  That means only news from official state-run sources would be allowed---from organizations such as the People’s Daily, Xinhua News Service and China Central Television.

The law has been on the books for more than a decade, but has not been consistently enforced.  The Financial Times quotes media analysts who say the crackdown was triggered by the coverage of recent floods in northern China…which have killed more than 150 people in a single province.  State-run media have emphasized the role of soldiers in helping with recovery efforts….while some online coverage has shown a lot of dead bodies and been critical of the slow response of some government officials.

President Xi Jinping has said that the media in China must serve the purposes of the Communist Party…telling reporters earlier this year that journalism should “reflect the party’s will and views, protect the authority of the central party leadership, and preserve the party’s unity.”

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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