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Written by Daniel   
Tuesday, 12 September 2006 09:22
Beijing Big Brother gets bigger
New laws tighten grip on media, technology
By Chris Williams
Published Tuesday 12th September 2006 15:24 GMT
The Register 
Beijing today attempted to defend sweeping new powers which gag foreign media and bar citizens from subscribing to news from abroad. The laws were published Sunday and went into effect immediately.

The government says its new rules are designed to "promote the dissemination of news and information in a sound and orderly manner".


As well as explicitly banning direct access to foreign news from within China, incoming news will be filtered and censored by Communist Party news and propaganda bureau Xinhua.

"Measures for administering the dissemination of news and information in China by foreign news agencies" also override previous dispensations aimed at business news, granting Xinhua a monopoly on a lucrative and burgeoning market.

Media rights campaigner Reporters Without Borders said: "It is outrageous that Xinhua, the Communist Party mouthpiece, should claim full powers over news agencies. It also poses a threat to news agency journalists, who play a key role in the circulation of news in China.

"Xinhua is establishing itself as a predator of both free enterprise and freedom of information."

The measures appoint Xinhau as enforcer. It will have powers to give warnings, demand changes within a prescribed time limit, suspend release of content, and withdraw rights to release information in China.

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