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China Takes Controversial Steps To Muzzle Bloggers

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The Sina Corp in China, which is a Chinese online media company for communities both in China and around the world, and is similar in nature to that of the popular micro blogging platform Twitter, has introduced a conduct code, in light of allegations regarding censorship to control what has turned into a hotbed for bloggers to air government and social grievances.

The first announcement came late last month, where the code of conduct stipulates the use of Sina’s micro blogging platform must refrain from posting content which conflicts with the principals of the Chinese constitution or brings harm to Chinese unity. The announcement also slapped a ban on the disclosure of state secrets or publications which are misleading or false.

In a country that generally offers little choice or limited options for open and free online chatter, the Internet provides a rare opportunity for people to anonymously participate in open discussions. This recent move to curb the people’s voice, comes as a series of moves by authorities to prevent interactions and
discussions on Weibo, now that the Chinese authorities have taken measures for a once per decade handover of leadership.

In a move which gives Sina greater basis for imposing user bans on what authorities consider sensitive news, the social media company has recently introduced a user points system whereby members can lose or gain points. When terms and conditions violations exceed 80 points, the user will be swiftly punted from the site. Validation of one’s real identity can also accrue points.

To further highlight the sensitive Internet censorship issue in China for the ruling Communist Party, authorities have also taken measures to stop online searches that relate to former Chongging party leader Bo Xilai, who was recently expelled from the party’s Central Committee.

In December, 2011, Beijing enforced micro blogging organisations to take action to ensure user registers are in accordance to their real identities. Industry experts are claiming, that to force the validation of the identities from the estimated 300 million Weibo users will be a near impossible ask.

It is further reported that the wider Weibo community has expressed outrage over this new restriction and guidelines.

In other related controversial Internet censorship news out of China, the Chinese transmissions regulator demanded that all Internet sites throughout the country of China will now need to prescreen and censor all online videos prior to them becoming available for public distribution. This action comes as a further move by Beijing to clamp down on freedom of expression for the many millions of Internet users throughout China.

Experts are claiming that the move is designed to further restrict the distribution of online videos that are produced via handheld and mobile devices with the intention of creating footage and promotion relating to sensitive political issues.

The writer: Matt Fuller is a freelance article writer and offers article writing services and guest blogging services.

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