China has shut down several online news operations after authorities blasted them for independently reporting and publishing articles about potentially sensitive subjects, state media said yesterday.
Major Chinese-language portals, including Sina, Sohu, Netease and iFeng, have closed some of their freewheeling political and social news sites and social network accounts after Beijing’s Internet control department “harshly criticized” their “huge amount of activities violating the law and regulations,” the Beijing News reported.
The programs “uploaded and published a large number of news reports gathered and edited by themselves,” causing “particularly vile impact,” it said, citing an unnamed official with the department.
The online news sites are also facing fines, the official added, without giving details.
Journalists at privately operated Chinese news portals are only accredited to cover sports or entertainment events and are required to use reports released by state-controlled media, such as Xinhua news agency, for more sensitive news related to politics and society.
However, some sites, largely driven by commercial interests, have formed their own news gathering or even investigative reporting teams to compete in a high-tech era where self-reporting is flourishing and hot social issues are changing day by day.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) brooks no opposition to its rule and the nation’s newspapers, Web sites and broadcast media are strictly controlled by the government, while an army of censors patrol social media to delete comments deemed taboo. Many Western news Web sites are blocked within the nation.
Controls have tightened considerably since Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) took office in 2013.
In February last year, Xi made a pointed visit to state broadcaster CCTV, where he said that media should focus on “positive reporting,” and “speak the [CCP’s] will and protect the [CCP’s] authority and unity.”
In the second quarter of this year alone, the government shut down or revoked the licenses of 1,475 Web sites and deleted more than 12,000 Internet accounts in a crackdown on “illegal online information,” the Cyberspace Administration of China said in a statement on Friday last week.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big