China’s cyberspace authorities have ordered Internet companies to close 60 popular celebrity gossip social media accounts in the latest in a series of crackdowns on independent media.
Web site operators from some of China’s biggest Internet companies, including Tencent and Baidu, were told in a meeting that they must take steps to control user accounts focusing on celebrity gossip, according to a post on the Beijing Cyberspace Administration’s social media account.
“Web sites must ... adopt effective measures to keep in check the problems of the embellishment of private sex scandals of celebrities, the hyping of ostentatious celebrity spending and entertainment, and catering to the poor taste of the public,” the post said.
They must also “actively propagate core socialist values and create an ever-more healthy environment for the mainstream public opinion,” it added.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) has overseen a series of measures to clamp down on independent online media, while reasserting the Chinese Communist Party’s role in limiting and guiding online discussion.
The Cyberspace Administration of China last month released regulations for online news portals and network providers that extended restrictions on content and required all services to be managed by party-sanctioned editorial staff.
Show-business blogs and Web sites are very popular in China, especially those which regularly produce muckraking reports on celebrities’ private lives.
In the meeting, the Beijing Cyberspace Administration told companies that a new law that took effect on Thursday last week requires Web sites to not harm the reputation or privacy of individuals, it said.
Companies must collect and record data on any site or account that breaks the cyber security laws and report it to authorities, it said.
About 60 accounts were ordered closed, though many were duplicates run by the same users.
Fans of the closed Web sites reacted angrily on social media, accusing the government of failing to understand young people and to appreciate the value of holding celebrities to account.
“Now it seems the entertainment crowd can brazenly and shamelessly go about their shady business, the only one who could keep them in check has been blocked,” one Sina Weibo user said of “China’s Number One Paparazzi” Zhou Wei, an account that had more than 7 million viewers.
Henry Tong (湯偉雄) and Elaine To (杜依蘭) were preparing to spend their first wedding anniversary in separate prison cells until their acquittal for rioting during Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. There were gasps and tears of relief in court on Friday last week as a judge declared prosecutors had failed to prove that the couple took part in clashes with police in July last year. The pair walked free in a ruling that has potential consequences for hundreds of other protesters facing similar charges. However, they have a long journey ahead as they try to rebuild their lives and business. “We have already been punished,”
WARNINGS OVER COMPLACENCY: The curves of new infections in numerous countries is climbing, while others see the the first new infections in months Spikes in COVID-19 infections in Asia have dispelled any notion that the region might be over the worst, with Australia and India yesterday reporting record daily infections, Vietnam fretting over a new surge and North Korea urging vigilance. Asian nations had largely prided themselves on rapidly containing initial outbreaks after the coronavirus emerged in central China late last year, but flare-ups this month have shown the danger of complacency. “We’ve got to be careful not to slip into some idea that there’s some golden immunity that Australia has in relation to this virus,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters. Australia recorded its
The Australian government yesterday said that it plans to give Google and Facebook three months to negotiate with media businesses fair pay for news content. In releasing a draft of a mandatory code of conduct, Canberra aims to succeed where other nations have failed in making tech firms pay for news siphoned from commercial media companies. Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that Google and Facebook would be the first platforms targeted by the proposed legislation, but others could follow. “It’s about a fair go for Australian news media businesses, it’s about ensuring that we have increased competition, increased consumer protection and a sustainable
‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged