Melon Farmers Original Version

News Censorship in China

State control and sensitive news


What's China planning to do?...

China opens a short public consultation on a law that would ban private companies from news reporting

Link Here 12th October 2021
Beijing has published a draft law stating that privately funded organisations shall not engage in news-gathering, editing, and broadcasting. Officials have not confirmed whether the new rules will apply to foreign news organisations operating in China, effectively making them illegal.

The proposed new rules ban private media-related businesses as part of a prohibited list of industries. The 2021 list is a very broad ban on everything relating to the news media sector. The equivalent list from the previous year allowed private news companies subject to a size cap.

Beijing has always held a tight grip over news and information in China, and virtually all media organisations are state-run, falling directly under government purview.

The draft law is currently open for public consultation for a week.



Offsite Article: Don't mention the re-education camps...

Link Here 4th March 2019
China's censors pull BBC broadcast from the air as it mentioned Uyghur Muslims being imprisoned

See article from



Offsite Article: The News China Didn't Want Reported in 2017...

Link Here 27th January 2018
Leaked newspaper censorship orders hint at the regime's priorities, but tighter controls have made them harder to obtain.

See article from



Update: Western subversion blocked...

Chinese Government orders the censorship of the New York Times Apple app

Link Here 5th January 2017
On December 23, Apple removed the Chinese versions of the newspaper's apps as well as their English counterparts in an act of compliance with a censorship order from the Chinese government.

An Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz issued this statement to TechCrunch:

For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations. As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store.

Though it's hardly alone in reporting critically on the Chinese government, the New York Times did publish a critical look at a " a seven-and-a-half-minute phantasmagoria of the Communist Party's nightmares of Western subversion " one day prior to when the apps were pulled.



Update: Playing down democracy...

Chinese news censors demand minimal coverage of US elections but outlets told to dwell on any juicy scandals that crop up

Link Here 10th November 2016
China's news censors ordered digital news media and other news outlets on the mainland to avoid excessive coverage of the US presidential election.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), a source said Chinese censors had urged all media houses in the state to not provide any live coverage or broadcast of the poll -- the world's biggest news event of the day.

However, the media were reportedly asked not to miss out on any scandals during the vote and report them in a timely manner . The censors also allowed news media to criticise in depth political abuses in the election, said a source, who did not want to be named because the instructions were confidential.



Offsite Article: Censor grab on land grab protest...

Link Here 16th September 2016
This week, Chinese police carried out a vicious crackdown on demonstrators in the southern Chinese fishing village of Wukan, now the authorities are trying to censor news about the protest

See article from



Update: Bowing out...

Editor of prominent Chinese newspaper resigns saying he's been bowing to government for so long, he can't stand it anymore

Link Here30th March 2016
The editor of a prominent Chinese newspaper has published a resignation letter denouncing the country's media censorship, the latest in a series of public outbursts criticising tightening media controls under President Xi Jinping.

Yu Shaolei, a culture editor at the Southern Metropolis Daily , posted a photo of his resignation form on his Weibo social media account. In seven large Chinese characters, the resigning journalist simply said he could no longer follow your surname in a box asking his reasons for leaving.

The phrase is a clear reference to Mr Xi's high-profile visit of the country's top-level state-run news outlets last month, where he sought to remind staff members that the country's media must be surnamed party and lived to serve the government. Yu said in a Weibo post accompanying the photo of his resignation form:

This spring, let's make a clean break, I'm getting old; after bowing for so long, I can't stand it anymore. I want to see if I can adopt a new posture.

The post was swiftly deleted by internet censors.

Yu's resignation is the latest in a series of public criticism of Mr Xi's tightening media controls, highlighting the central government's evolving challenges to keep public opinion online and on social media in check.



Offsite Article: Chinese magazine challenges government over censorship...

Link Here9th March 2016
One of China's most respected current affairs magazines has lashed out at Communist party censorship of its work

See article from



Update: Unapproved Criticism...

China announces new laws to restrict journalism

Link Here23rd June 2014
China has introduced new rules to restrict journalism. The rules say that journalists and their news organizations are forbidden from initiating critical reporting that has not been approved.

The new rules also prohibit a host of other journalistic activities. Reporters may not do reporting across industries or focus areas . News outlets are forbidden from establishing businesses in advertising, publishing or public relations. And they can't even circulate critical documents internally or on private websites. +

The government rules seem related to recent announcement that over 14,000 press cards had been revoked for supposedly bogus journalists. The measures also appear designed to address corruption scandals involving news outlets found to be practicing black PR, obtaining profits through paid-for content.

Update: More restrictions

17th July 2014. See  article from

The government had just announced that month that reporters were not allowed to report anything, even on their own blogs and social media sites , that had not been approved by an editor at their news organization. The announcement was aimed at heading off enterprising--and increasingly frustrated--reporters who would often release directly to their own readers information that had not survived their publications' editing and censorship processes.



Update: A Happy World...

Bloggers note effective Chinese censorship of the terrorist station attack

Link Here8th March 2014
After last week's knife attack on Chinese people in Kunming by muslim terrorists, in which 29 people were hacked to death, the state council information office issued the following directive:

Media that report on the knife attack incident that occurred March 1 at the Kunming railway station must strictly adhere to Xinhua News Agency wire copy or information provided by local authorities.

Do not treat the story with large headlines; do not publish grisly photos. Please respond to confirm that you have received this message. Thank you.

The censorship seems to have been effective and this was noted by Chinese microbloggers. Ye Taijin wrote:

It is as if nothing happened in Kunming. If we didn't have Weibo and WeChat, we would still be living in a happy world like the one presented on the evening new on China Central Television.


15th November

Update: Unverifiable Sources...

China lays out new restrictions on journalists using unverified news sources

  China's press censors at the General Administration of Press and Publication have released new restrictions on journalism.

Some regulations simply reiterate journalistic best practices, others introduce new restrictions:

Reporters are required to be objective and report all sides of a story. They are prohibited from aggregating reports or relying on second-hand accounts that have not been independently verified, in particular information obtained from online sources, outside contributors, or by phone. News organizations must set up systems to guard against the publication of false reports and strengthen responsibility at all levels and through every stage of the editorial process, including the establishment of procedures to investigate errors and publish corrections and apologies.

The rules state that journalists should rely on in-person interviews, authoritative sources of information, and verifiable facts in their reporting. Critical news reports must be based on information from at least two different sources, and journalists must retain evidence of the information that has been received and verified. The use of anonymous sources is discouraged, with limited exceptions for national security, privacy or other special reasons, and reporters are cautioned against describing anonymous sources with phrases such as a person familiar with the matter, a person involved in the matter, or an authoritative person. Likewise, the use of pen names is barred, and reporters and editors involved in a story must sign their real names to it.

Crucially, the rules also reiterate that reporters must be licensed by and warns news organizations against hiring reporters on a temporary basis, eg freelancers and temps.


8th September

Off the Rails...

Beijing takes control of two newspapers in apparent response to embarrassment over unsafe trains

The Beijing propaganda bureau has taken control of two city newspapers known for bold reporting.

Some journalists blamed the development on official anger at the reporting of the fatal high-speed train crash in Wenzhou in July, although others believe it reflects a broader struggle over control of the media.

It means there will be so much we can't do, an employee of one of the affected titles said. [Before] there was news that other papers couldn't do but we could.

Previously, the papers were overseen by state level propaganda authorities. Journalists fear the switch may also restrict their ability to cover events in the capital and sensitive news from other areas.

It's been a headache for the Beijing propaganda authorities that they didn't directly control the two newspapers, Wen Yunchao, a Hong Kong-based media analyst, told the South China Morning Post: They could only influence editorial content through the help of the central publicity department.

Censor Watch logo





Censorship News Latest

Daily BBFC Ratings

Site Information