“The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest,” the official Xinhua news agency said in announcing the new rules, which took effect immediately.
The news agency did not detail the rules, but said Internet news sites must “be directed toward serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests.”
That is a nice touch in the way they do not define what is against ‘national security and public interest’. In effect, it is whatever the Chinese Communist Party says it is.
The Chinese government is also getting quite adept at regulating Internet content in its own country, not least through help from US Internet and software companies. Dave Kopel writes that these companies might well have broken the law in selling this technology to the Chinese government, but the current administration refuses to apply it, and thinks that only pressure from consumers and shareholders will cause these companies to mend their ways.
Foreign companies that invest or do a lot of business with China are going to have more and more ethical headaches of this nature in the years ahead.