China reviews Internet firms for dissent
BEIJING — China’s online monitoring agency is investigating reports of multiple violations at news services run by Tencent Holdings Ltd., Baidu Inc. and Weibo Corp., as the government continues to tighten scrutiny over Internet content.
The Cyberspace Administration of China said Friday it’s instructed its Beijing and Guangdong branches to look into reports that some of the country’s largest online services are carrying user-generated content laden with “violence, porn, rumors” disruptive to social order. It didn’t specify what actions may be taken. Tencent, Baidu and Weibo said in separate statements they will cooperate with the government on removing questionable content and rectifying any issues.
China has applied increasing pressure over Internet media in the run-up to a Communist Party congress later this year that is expected to consolidate President Xi Jinping’s authority. Intent on muzzling potential sources of disruptive information, the government has shut livestreaming services and websites, tightened regulations governing Internet access, and issued repeated warnings about the need to clean up content through various agencies. Observers say the enhanced scrutiny is also characteristic of Xi’s administration.
The latest inquiry centers on three of the country’s largest repositories of online musings, all with hundreds of millions of users: Tencent’s WeChat messaging service, Weibo’s Twitter-like blog and Baidu’s “Paste Bar” forums.