[JURIST] China Sunday released new media regulations [text] governing the domestic release of news and information by foreign news agencies. The regulations give China's official Xinhua News Agency [official website] ultimate rights of approval over the distribution and release of foreign news content in China [JURIST news archive]. The new rules designate foreign news agencies as agents of Xinhua and are subject to an annual review. Xinhua is specifically granted the right to ban [Xinhua report] all news content that will "undermine China's national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity" or "endanger China's national security, reputation and interests."
The measures come in the wake of several other high-profile steps taken by Chinese authorities in recent months to limit free expression and silence dissent. These include:
- the conviction of Ching Cheong [advocacy website; Wikipedia profile], chief China correspondent for Singapore's Straits Times [media website], sentenced to five years [JURIST report] in jail after being convicted on charges of selling state secrets and spying for Taiwan [BBC report]
- the conviction [JURIST report] of Zhao Yan [HRIC profile, PDF], a former New York Times researcher, on fraud charges but who was also initially indicted for providing state secrets [JURIST report] to foreigners
- a crackdown on US Internet companies that prompted them to be accused [JURIST report] in the West of complying with so-called "Internet oppression"; and
- the jailing of Chinese journalists [JURIST report] for inciting subversion.