Chinas New Online Content Regulations Limit Free Speech

China is known for censoring and blocking online content that it sees as harmful to the countrys interests. Most notably Google services arent available in China many popular social applications such as Twitter and Facebook are also not available and usually a China exclusive alternative is used providing access to the government to monitor its citizens.

However even on these China exclusive sites the content wasnt regulated up to the governments standards or put bluntly people still had the right to free speech (to some extent). China is now implementing a law that will now help the government control these sites as well.

Provisions on the Governance of the Online Information Content Ecosystem

The new law which came into effect this Sunday aims at stopping people from sharing and spreading content that the government thinks affects Chinas public image. It should be noted that general negative content isnt being flagged but only content that China thinks affects its own image.

The law only lets people post positive things about the country. The provisional law was first announced back in December 2019 and implemented this past weekend amid the coronavirus outbreak in the country.

According to the Chinese government the law will create a positive online ecosystem. The government is of the opinion that online content should be positive and should not contain rumors.

Banned Content

Some of the examples of what this law considers unacceptable include content harming honor and interests spreading rumors and most notably in light of recent events inappropriate commentary on natural disasters and major accidents.

The system will divide online content into 3 major categories; encouraged negative and illegal. Blogs or individuals breaking the rules and posting more negative and illegal content will be warned at first. On repeat behavior restricted or suspended from further posting. Individuals may even face legal consequences.

To promote the laws a hashtag online news ecosystem governance was made viral on Weibo and viewed over 3 million times. Some of the users expressed concerns using the same hashtag. While some were supporting the government in taking these steps others were more critical.

They only want us to see what they want us to see and hear what they want us to hear.

This new law will also mean that any news regarding coronavirus affectees will be filtered out. This draconian law will mean that there is no such thing as free speech in China clearly violating basic human rights.

Source: Pro Pakistani

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