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China Goes After Mobile News Apps

The State Internet Information Office, an agency under the State Council, recently issued a directive that demands the "rectification" of mobile news apps that "obtain Internet news illegally or conduct Internet news services illegally." It named news aggregator Zaker, which has 17.5 million users, and Chouti, which uses the slogan "Publish what shouldn’t be published," as being among those failing to comply with government guidelines.

Some of the apps provide Chinese users the news from overseas and foreign media, including those banned by the authorities, such as New York Times. The government demands all mobile news apps register with the authorities in charge of Internet information and meet the appropriate qualifications. All mobile apps stores are also forbidden to provide uploading or downloading and other services for illegal news apps.

This move comes after Chinese police conducted an intensive campaign to strike "Internet rumors." Earlier this month the Chinese Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate issued a judicial interpretation that the use of the Internet for slandering and defamation that leads to mass incidents causes "serious harm to the social order and the national interest," which should be characterized as a criminal offense subject to the investigation of police and prosecution by the People’s Procuratorate.

Source: BBC Chinese, September 30, 2013