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China clamps down on news about Google

29 Mar 2010

The Chinese government is escalating its online war againstGoogle, telling all local media agencies they must toe the party line whenreporting anything to do with Google.

Last week Google took a stand against the self-imposedcensorship of searches conducted through its Chinese portal that were demandedunder Chinese law. Google moved search queries to its portal based in HongKong, where different laws apply.

Beijing responded by blocking specific search requeststhrough the Hong Kong link, thus fulfilling Google’s intention of makingChinese authorities responsible for the censorship rather than Google itself.

Now China’s government has issued instructions to media sitesto pay “strict attention” to a number of points regarding the dispute withGoogle, and has effectively banned anything other than state-issued andapproved coverage.

The directives to news sites, issued by the State CouncilInformation Office’s Internet Affairs Bureau, include:

  • Only use Central Government main media(website) content; do not use content from other sources
  • News recommendations should refer to Central government mainmedia websites
  • Do not produce relevant topic pages; do not set discussionsessions; do not conduct related investigative reporting;
  • Online programs with experts and scholars on this mattermust apply for permission ahead of time. This type of self-initiated programproduction is strictly forbidden.

    Carefully manage the commentary posts under news items.

Forums, blogs and other interactive media sections:

  • It is not permitted to hold discussions or investigations onthe Google topic
  •  Interactive sections do not recommend this topic, do notplace this topic and related comments at the top
  • All websites please clean up text, images and sound andvideos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policieswith the excuse of this event.

    All websites please clean up text, images and sound andvideos which support Google, dedicate flowers to Google, ask Google to stay,cheer for Google and others have a different tune from government policy

  • On topics related to Google, carefully manage theinformation in exchanges, comments and other interactive sessions
  • Chief managers in different regions please assign specificmanpower to monitor Google-related information; if there is information aboutmass incidents, please report it in a timely manner.
Additional guidelines:

  • Do not participate in and report Google’s information/pressreleases
  • Do not report about Google exerting pressure on our countryvia people or events
  • Related reports need to put [ourstory/perspective/information] in the centre, do not provide materials forGoogle to attack relevant policies of our country
  • Use talking points about Google withdrawing from Chinapublished by relevant departments.
The Bureau describes the Google dispute as “a high-impactincident”.

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