China's latest media regulations, issued Thursday in a bid to take some steam out of microblogs that increasingly drive the country's news agenda, signal an increased role for the state in drafting and enforcing press standards.
Along with cracking down on what it considers trashy TV --- China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said Tuesday that it will limit entertainment and add more news and other programs that "build morality and promote the core values of socialism" -- the government is going after what it calls rumor mongers on the Internet. The BBC and others reported on the Internet crackdown after the official Chinese news agency Xinhua released a short item on Tuesday, announcing that three people had been detained or arrested for publishing incorrect information, or "spreading rumors online," as Xinhua put it.
Hu Yong's writes on the rise of microblogs (like Twitter, which is blocked) on the Chinese Internet.
Recently, when a newspaper reporter exposed related-party transactions by a listed company, local police authorities issued a warrant for his arrest. Tens of thousands of microblog posts were sent out about this incident. Users expressed their views and revealed the immense appetite the Chinese people have for participation in news events. The incident ended with the withdrawal of the arrest warrant by the police.
Also, it appears "beta" in China can also mean "have been approached by the authorities to remove features". Four microblogging services suddenly slapped a "beta" label on their websites and turned off search after a government-led crackdown.
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