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China’s New Regulation Draft on Internet Control

On September 19, 2012, the State Council’s Legislative Affairs Office issued an “Approach to the Management of Internet Publishing Services” (draft version). The formal version is supposed to replace the existing “Provisional Regulations on Management of Internet Publishing” on January 10, 2013.

The “Approach” states that the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) is the agency that oversees Internet publishing services, which is also under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The “Approach” requires that all those providing services must obtain an Internet Publishing Services Permit. Such services include the digital publication of books, newspapers, periodicals, music and video products, and other “informative and thoughtful text, pictures, games, animation and original digital works.”

The draft version provides that the editor is responsible for the quality and legality of the contents. The “Approach” forbids contents that “oppose the fundamental principles of the Constitution,” “leak state secrets, endanger national security, or compromise national honor or interest,” “spread rumors, disrupt the social order, or sabotage social stability,” and “endanger social morality or good ethnic cultural traditions.”
The “Approach” forbids joint ventures or foreign operated identities from engaging in web publishing services. GAPP must approve the publication of online games authored by owners with foreign copyrights.

An annual check of web publishing identities is required. Violators of the regulation are subject to penalties including suspension of the permit, shutting down the website, or even criminal prosecution.

Source: Website of the State Council’s Legislative Affairs Office, December 19, 2012