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Beijing is banning all foreign media from publishing online in China

21 February 2016

From Quartz:

In the latest sign that China’s long-touted “opening up” is reversing into a “closing down,” a Chinese ministry has issued new rules that ban any foreign-invested company from publishing anything online in China, effective next month.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s new rules (link in Chinese) could, if they were enforced as written, essentially shut down China as a market for foreign news outlets, publishers, gaming companies, information providers, and entertainment companies starting on March 10. Issued in conjunction with the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), they set strict new guidelines for what can be published online, and how that publisher should conduct business in China.

“Sino-foreign joint ventures, Sino-foreign cooperative ventures, and foreign business units shall not engage in online publishing services,” the rules state. Any publisher of online content, including “texts, pictures, maps, games, animations, audios, and videos,” will also be required to store their “necessary technical equipment, related servers, and storage devices” in China, the directive says. Any “online publication service units” needs to get prior approval from SARFT if they want to cooperate on a project with any foreign company, joint venture, or individual.

Foreign media companies including Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the New York Times have invested millions of dollars—maybe even hundreds of millions collectively—in building up China-based news organizations in recent years, and publishing news reports in Chinese, for a Chinese audience. Many of these media outlets are currently blocked in China, so top executives have also been involved in months of behind-the-scenes negotiations to try to get the blocks lifted.

. . . .

 But the new rules specify that, aside from approved projects, only 100% Chinese companies will produce any content that goes online, and then only after approval from Chinese authorities and the acquisition of an online publishing license.

Link to the rest at Quartz


12 Comments to “Beijing is banning all foreign media from publishing online in China”

  1. Hmmm, they must think they’ve fixed the holes in their ‘great firewall of China’.

    The internet sees firewalls and other blockage as damage and routes around them.

    It should be interesting to see who wins, I’m off to pop some corn.

  2. I lived in China from 2008 to 2013.

    I remember the time the New York Times reported on the $2 billion a high-ranking official’s family had.

    The newspaper was shut down and you could not access it without a VPN. That was in 2012 and I was never able to access it again for the time I lived there.

    We lost YouTube in 2008. Wow, that was a great teaching tool.

    Businessmen always complained to me how China would never be able to compete because they limit information.

    Information is power, power is money.

    I’ve never seen a more capitalistic system. Not sure why they want to make making money more difficult.

    Well, their leaders are confused. They’ve lost the mandate of heaven. It’s the same story as China has seen for thousands of years.

    • Greg, do you get a sense of what the young people in beijing or other bigger cities think about such matters?

      • I lived in Shenzhen, a city of about 13 million just north of the Honk Kong border in the south of the country.

        For the most part, young people have their face in their iPhones. They want to get the best grades they can so they can get into the best college, get the best job they can, and then set about getting that middle class lifestyle that didn’t exist before 1980.

        It’s consumerism at a very pure level there. No one cares about politics or the government, though most people I talked to knew it was generally corrupt and full of rich elites.

        That was alright, as the economy was booming and everyone was moving up the social ladder.

        • thanks for your witness Greg, appreciate it. 13 M in one city. Wow. Consumer driven young pp, who strive to succeed during a boom. What could possibly go wrong. I hope the best for them.

  3. Another attempt to build a wall instead of a bridge. Sad.

  4. And this surprises anyone – why?

    I hope, for the sake of China’s billions of citizens, that they find ways around their government’s control of what they hear, see, and read. It is possible the government left this until too late – I pray that’s true.

    But we are going back to the Gulag.

  5. Looks like the Powers That Be in the Celestial Kingdom are running scared.

    And they probably should be; Rule One of any totalitarian regime is to control the flow of information to the masses. Such attempts are, ultimately, futile in the Internet Age.

  6. We lose China as a market for publishing, but we will soon gain India.

    Today’s (February 21, 2016) episode of CNN’s “GLOBAL PUBLIC SQUARE” show, with host Fareed Zakaria, explains (at 21:04) how Indian businessman Mukesh Ambani is investing in infrastructure to bring high-speed broadband Internet access to all Indians in the next two years.


    Since most of this is expected to be accessed on smartphones (based on present demographics, which are not expected to change dramatically), it means special importance for publishers to make sure that their e-books are formatted for mobile displays. For many books, this will mean media queries included in the HTML code of the book. As Amazon explains it: “media queries [are] a way to help content creators build a better customer experience [for the same e-book] across [different] devices.”

  7. The way that’s written, no outside company can do business in China if they publish anything on the internet.

  8. I dont know what to make of the article. We just sold to china and have books in chinese for years now. Hmmm. I wonder.

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