Controls on the ‘online information content ecosystem’ bring heightened concern about freedom of speech

Sweeping new internet censorship rules have gone into effect in China, prompting concerns that authorities will further control information and online debate as the country reels from the coronavirus outbreak.

China’s cybersecurity administration has since Saturday implemented a set of new regulations on the governance of the “online information content ecosystem” that encourage “positive” content while barring material deemed “negative” or illegal.

The regulations, released last year, come as Chinese internet users have become increasingly critical of censorship because of the removal of news and comments about the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. Volunteers have been preserving removed content while internet users have been trying new ways to evade censors.

On Monday, the hashtag, “Online news eco-system governance” had been viewed more than 3 million times on Weibo. But some news accounts posting articles on the topic had disabled the comment sections. On other posts, users wrote: “In the future there will be only good news, and no bad news.”

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Coronavirus outbreak, China, Internet, Data and computer security, Technology, Asia Pacific

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