China re­views In­ter­net firms for dis­sent

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM -

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.

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