On March 1, 2020, China started to implement officially the “Regulations on the Ecological Governance of Internet Information Content” (“Regulation”) that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) issued on December 15, 2019. The Regulation has 8 chapters and 42 articles.
Radio France International published an article commenting that the Regulation was intended to monitor closely and fundamentally eliminate information detrimental to the authorities. It tried to control the information creation and publishing chain, including “creation, copying, and publishing.” It also bound the Information producer, the network information service platform, and the information consumer together to make them mutually monitor each other.
The strict regulation encouraged online information producers to produce, copy, and distribute contents that promote Xi Jinping Thoughts, publicize the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) s policies, promote socialist values, and help increase the international influence of CCP culture. To a certain extent, it tried to make the content producers undertake the work of promoting the CCP’s policies and propaganda.
Information inconsistent with the party’s guidelines and policies will be controlled, removed, and even “sanctioned according to the law.” For example, Article Six states: Producers of network content may not create, copy, or publish illegal information containing content that “endangers national security, leaks state secrets, subverts state power, undermines national unity,” “damages national honor and interests,’ “vilifies heroes,” or “spreads rumors.”[Editor’s note: The Regulation was possibly a response to Xi Jinping’s instructions given on September 16, 2019, during National Cyber Security Awareness Week. Xi emphasized the importance of security and control and called for enhancing people’s happiness and security in cyberspace.]
1. CAC website, September 16, 2019
2. CAC website, December 20, 2019
3. Radio France International, March 1, 2020