Looks like the Drudge Report won’t be coming to China anytime soon. China’s top online regulator, the intriguingly monikered Cyberspace Administration of China, is cracking down on internet companies’ original news reporting. A report by Bloomberg states the regulator has ordered leading internet companies such as Sina Corp and Tencent, to stop its own original news content and rely instead on state run agencies. The crackdown on the Middle Kingdom’s online news portals comes against a general campaign by government authorities to tighten their control over the dissemination and distribution of both information and content online.
News of the ban was first publicized in state-owned The Paper, which said several digital news portals had “seriously violated” regulations with their coverage causing “huge negative effects.” Mobile and online news reporters have been ordered to dismantle their current affairs and news gathering operations. Chinese President Xi Jinping is believed to be a firm believer in greater controls over the internet in China, and for the media in specific to serve the purpose of the ruling Communist Party. Earlier this year he was quoted telling state media outlets to “speak for the Party and its propositions and protect the Party’s authority and unity.”
Recent months have seen greater limits placed on the importing of foreign content for distribution on China’s internet platforms and also greater censorship on what kind of content is permissible. The moves come ahead of next year’s epochal Communist Party congress. The general economic slowdown in China, as well as an unprecedented campaign against corruption, is believed to have made Chinese authorities even more keen to up their control on the spread of information and materials. Part of the crackdown also comes after years of under-regulation in the online space, as authorities raced to keep up with technological advances. Tencent’s QQ and WeChat, for example, host more than a billion combined users for their services.