China bans ABC’s Mandarin Web site

NO EXPLANATION::The move might be a repercussion from Canberra’s decision last month to bar Huawei and ZTE from supplying equipment to Australia’s 5G network

The Guardian

Tue, Sep 04, 2018 - Page 5

China has banned the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) Web site for violating China’s laws and regulations, but has not specified any breaches.

According to a report by the ABC, an official from China’s Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission said: “China’s Internet is fully open. We welcome internet enterprises from all over the world to provide good information to the netizens of China.”

“However, state cybersovereignty rights shall be maintained towards some overseas Web sites violating China’s laws and regulations, spreading rumors, pornographic information, gambling, violent terrorism and some other illegal harmful information which will endanger state security and damage national pride,” the official said.

An ABC spokeswoman declined to comment on the ban.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not appear to be concerned by the report.

“Well, I mean, the ABC is funded to broadcast in Australia, so we’re in control of that,” Morrison told 3AW radio yesterday. “China’s a sovereign country. They make decisions about what happens there. We make decisions about what happens here.”

A possible clue to the decision may lie in the government’s decision to bar Chinese telecoms Huawei and ZTE from supplying equipment to Australia’s 5G network, a move which angered the Chinese government.

The decision was made during the Liberals’ leadership ructions last month and a day later the ABC Web site was shut down in China.

“The Australian government has made the wrong decision and it will have a negative impact to the business interests of China and Australia companies,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on its Web site at the time.

When the ruling coalition pulled the funding for ABC International’s Australia Network in 2014, the broadcaster restructured to a magazine-style Web portal called The advertiser-funded service, which was more lifestyle than news, was closed in recent months.

However, Chinese were given access to more Australian news in 2016 when the broadcaster’s international arm opened a full Chinese news service in Mandarin that was hosted in Australia, but available to the whole region online.

The news service was the recommendation of a review that said the ABC should promote the Mandarin language, as well as Bahasa-language content for Indonesia and extra services for Pacific audiences, as part of its soft diplomacy efforts.

ABC recently relaunched its international television service under the new brand ABC Australia.