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China Bans Foreign Media from Publishing Online

David Barboza and Paul Mozur report for the New York Times that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has announced new regulations forbidding foreign-invested companies from publishing online content without ministry approval. The new rules will take effect March 10.

Any publication seeking to publish material will need to keep its “necessary technical equipment, related servers, and storage devices” in China, according to a translation in the news outlet Quartz. Even companies that demonstrate their native status will still have to obtain a publishing license and subject their content to approval from authorities. When Quartz reached out for clarification on the new rules, the ministry responded that it “could only reply to faxed questions that came from a reporter with a mainland press card,” though a Beijing-based source in the Times suspects that there will continue to be variation in how and when guidelines are enforced.

“Foreign media have never been able to operate freely in China, so in some ways there is nothing new here,” Jeremy Goldkorn, director of Danwei, a research firm tracking Chinese media, told Scott Cendrowski in Fortune. Cendrowski notes that China has blocked the New York Times’s Chinese-language site since the paper published articles about high-ranking officials’ assets. Companies like Google, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have not operated freely in the country for years.

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