China is to further tighten its grip on internet use by restricting the broadcast of videos on the web to only those run by state-sanctioned companies.
In the government’s latest clampdown on cyberspace, all sites that provide video programming or allow users to upload video must obtain a government permit, with the only companies permitted to apply being those that are state-owned or state-controlled.
Executives at Chinese video-sharing sites spoke with caution but said the move was not unexpected and would likely have a much greater impact on new entrants to the market, such as Google’s popular YouTube.com that has yet to formally register in China.
The new rules, which come into force on January 31, mark a fresh attempt by Beijing to curtail the internet habits of an increasingly web-savvy population that has become accustomed to decades of state intervention.
The new regulations state that: Those who provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people, serve socialism ... and abide by the moral code of socialism.
The policy will ban providers from broadcasting video that involves national secrets, hurts the reputation of China, disrupts social stability or promotes pornography. Providers will be required to delete and report such content.
The Chinese government has decided to allow private video-sharing websites to continue operation as long as they do not broadcast illegal content.
The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the Ministry of Information Industry (MII) said on its website that all video-sharing websites established before Jan 31 are qualified for a license and can continue operation.
The license was needed for any website providing online video services and could have been granted only to State-owned or State-controlled enterprises, according to an earlier regulation.
But video-sharing websites established after Jan 31 have to be State-owned enterprises in order to get the license, according to the regulator.
On Dec 29, SARFT and MII sprang a regulation stating that websites that provide video programming or allow users to upload videos in China must obtain a government license and applicants must either be State-owned or State-controlled companies.
The regulation surprised many as most video-sharing sites in China are privately held and funded by foreign venture-capital firms.
The latest announcement thus saves hundreds of private video-sharing websites from closure or forced cooperation with State-owned enterprises.
One of the most popular video-sharing websites in China has been shut down.
The site, 56.com, which usually offers YouTube-style video, has been suspended for more than two weeks. A message on the home page blames a server upgrade, but it would be unusual for such routine maintenance to take so long.
Executives at the company refused to explain the delay, according to the Wall Street Journal, prompting concern that it may have fallen foul of regulators. 56.com is one of the three largest video-sharing sites in China, and along with similar sites has
been closely scrutinised by the Government in recent months.
In December the Government issued new rules which held that in order to operate, video-sharing sites must be part state-owned. Regulators later issued guidance that some privately run sites may continue if they were given licenses and agreed to abide by
content restrictions, but it has so far refused to give licenses to the three largest sites – Tudou.com, Youku.com and 56.com.
Most Chinese sites employ teams who comb through content as it uploaded - unlike YouTube, which waits for offensive or inappropriate content to be pointed out by users before it is taken down.
Chinese censors at the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) have shut down 131 unlicensed video Web sites and penalized a further nine for carrying supposedly pornographic videos as part of its continuing crackdown on Internet porn.
SARFT said that the crackdown, which began on Jan. 5 and will last until the end of February, has also resulted in the country's 307 licensed video Web sites deleting content from their platforms. Among these are Tencent, which has deleted 12,841 videos;
Tudou, which has deleted 3,214 videos; PPLive, which has taken down 440 videos; PPStream, which has removed 85 videos; Joy.cn, which has deleted approximately 10,000 videos and posts; 6.cn, which has deleted over 2,300 videos and 2,500 comments; and
Funshion, which closed its forum and picture-posting areas.
Although Youtube has been unblocked, the China administration is determined to control audio and video content circulated in the Internet.
On March 30, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) issued an administrative notice, Concerning the tightening of management on Internet audio-visual content, In the notice that the following content should be banned from
against constitutional principle
damaging to national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity
disclosure of state secret, harmful to state security, national honor and interest
inducing underage youth to commit crime; rendering violence, pornography, gambling and terrorist activities
humiliating and slandering contents that violate citizen's privacy and rights
harmful to social morale and national culture and tradition
other contents that prohibited by other laws and regulations.
Internet audio-visual content providers have to edit and delete the following content:
maliciously distorting Chinese culture, history and historical fact; maliciously distorting other countries' history and disrespectful to human civilization and other countries' civilization and customs
deliberately ridiculing revolution leaders, heroic figures, significant historical figures, prominent figures inside and outside China
maliciously ridiculing people's army, armed police, police, and judicial bodies; contents that show physical abuse and torturing of prisoners and criminals
showing the arrogant and heroic side of criminal acts, details of crimes and investigation, image and voice of witnesses and whistle blowers
advocating religious extremism, creating conflicts among different religions, sects, believers and non-believers that hurt people's feeling
promoting fortune telling, fung-shui, exorcism treatment and other superstitious acts
depicting nature disasters, accidents, terrorist acts, wars and disasters in a spoofing manner
explicitly presenting promiscuity, rape, incest, necrophilia, prostitution, sexual perversion, masturbation and other similar acts
showing or implicitly presenting sexual behavior and bodily intimacy
deliberately exhibiting private parts of human bodies that covered up by body parts or small objects
inducing sexual fantasy
advocating unhealthy acts of extra marital sex, polygamy, one night stand, SM, exchanging partners, and etc
titled and tagged with seductive words or pictures that associated with adult films, pornographic movies, AV, hidden video, nipple slip, and etc
agitating content related with homicide, extreme violence, abduction, drug, gambling, and supernatural phenomena
excessive horrible image, subtitle, background music and sound effects
demonstrating slaughtering of animals, and human consumption (eating) of protected animal species
violating individual privacy
positive presentation or presentation that encourage fight, humiliation and vulgar languages
advocating negative and decadent life style, world view and value; exaggerating national backwardness and dark side of the society
video clips that have been banned by SARFT
violating the principle of relevant laws and regulations.
SARFT, China's media censor has announced that online video will be required to be submitted for censorship prior to being published online.
A SARFT spokesman explainedthat original drama series and films on video websites like Youku and Tudou are mostly great, but that some need to be cut, citing violations such as repeated curse words, violence and sexuality. In the future, original
productions destined for the internet will need to be approved by SARFT before they can be broadcast just like everything else.
SARFT claimed the move as a response to an outcry from internet users and industry needs.
Presumably this SARFT announcement means we can look forward to online programming quickly becoming as dull and lifeless as most television programming, which SARFT has been doing its damnedest to suck the fun out of for quite
some time now.
It is not yet clear how the measure will be implemented nor its scope, in particular whether this will apply to user generated content.
China is launching yet another new war on porn distribution. China Daily reported that the country's National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications said that the national campaign will last from mid-July to the end of November and
will target vendors selling videos, books and magazines, as well as various forms of pornographic or vulgar online content. Also in the country's cross hairs are books that promote gang-related culture and songs that feature obscene content.
Video websites are being told they must pre-screen all content that is deemed inappropriate. The State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television (SARFT) revealed new censorship rules this week in a published series of answers to reporters'
questions. Site administrators will apparently be given guidance on what is okay and what isn't. It remains to be seen how SARFT will enforce the new regulations, especially when it comes to user-generated content.
Many site owners will find it difficult to follow the new instructions since they suddenly have to find the resources to pre-screen everything that is uploaded. When it comes to doing business on the Internet in China, however, this is nothing
Chinese internet users who want to post videos to Chinese sites online will have to do so under their real names from now on, the official internet censor has said.
China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said on its website that the requirement is designed to prevent vulgar content, base art forms, exaggerated violence and sexual content in internet video having a negative
effect on society , Reuters reported .