China clamps down on news about Google

29 Mar 10

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

Last week Google took a stand against the self-imposed
censorship of searches conducted through its Chinese portal that were demanded
under Chinese law. Google moved search queries to its portal based in Hong
Kong, where different laws apply.

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

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

The directives to news sites, issued by the State Council
Information 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 main
    media websites

  • Do not produce relevant topic pages; do not set discussion
    sessions; do not conduct related investigative reporting;

  • Online programs with experts and scholars on this matter
    must apply for permission ahead of time. This type of self-initiated program
    production 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 on
    the Google topic

  •  Interactive sections do not recommend this topic, do not
    place this topic and related comments at the top

  • All websites please clean up text, images and sound and
    videos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policies
    with the excuse of this event.

    All websites please clean up text, images and sound and
    videos 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 the
    information in exchanges, comments and other interactive sessions

  • Chief managers in different regions please assign specific
    manpower to monitor Google-related information; if there is information about
    mass incidents, please report it in a timely manner.

Additional guidelines:

  • Do not participate in and report Google’s information/press

  • Do not report about Google exerting pressure on our country
    via people or events

  • Related reports need to put [our
    story/perspective/information] in the centre, do not provide materials for
    Google to attack relevant policies of our country

  • Use talking points about Google withdrawing from China
    published by relevant departments.

The Bureau describes the Google dispute as “a high-impact

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