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CHINA INTERNET CRACKDOWN - New Targets In Sight

Some of China's most creative minds fear they're next as an internet crackdown widens. New regulations require auditors to check all audio visual content posted online
for inappropriate content. explains who Beijing is keeping tabs on.

Theresa May has refused to rule out censoring the internet like China.


The prime minister has looked to introduce sweeping and deep changes to the way the internet works, in what she claims is a necessary move to prevent terror. Those have included restricting the kinds of things people can post online and forcing internet companies to weaken security so that intelligence agencies can read their messages.

Many of those plans have been criticized by internet companies, who argue that such undertakings would require them to put their customers safety in danger and undermine their businesses. It might not even be possible to comply with such rules, they have argued, since laws in other countries explicitly prohibit such measures.

China has ordered one of the most popular virtual private networks (VPNs) in the country to cease its operations amid a nationwide clamp down on internet freedoms, Bloomberg
reports.

VPNs are used the world over to bypass state imposed internet access restrictions. They work by routing traffic to servers in locations where those restrictions don.t apply. In China, where a system known as the Great Firewall blocks access to news sites such as the New York Times, social media sites like Facebook, and a raft of other content, VPNs are used by private citizens, businesses, universities, and even state-run newspapers to get to off-limits information.

China.s Great Firewall is Harming Innovation, Scholars Say


But on Monday GreenVPN, one of China's most popular, told customers it would freeze its service on July 1 after "receiving a notice from regulatory departments." Some users reported being unable to use the VPN on their smartphones over the weekend, although it is unclear whether this was down to a glitch or the restrictions. The move is just the latest tightening of internet censorship in the run up to the Chinese Communist Party's 19th Congress, due to be held around October. Last month, China's media oversight body ordered three major online companies . including the Twitter-like micro-blogging platform Weibo to halt some of their multi-media streaming services.

In a January proclamation, China.s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology listed restricting VPNs as one of several priorities for controlling online content in the country. China.s latest maneuver in a sweeping crackdown on internet content has sent a chill through a diverse community of filmmakers, bloggers, media and educators who fear their sites could be shut down as Beijing tightens control. Over the last month, Chinese regulators have closed celebrity gossip websites, restricted what video people can post and suspended online streaming, all on grounds of inappropriate content.

On Friday, an industry association circulated new regulations that at least two .auditors. will, with immediate effect, be required to check all audiovisual content posted online . from films to "micro" movies, documentaries, sports, educational material and animation "to ensure they adhere to core socialist values."

Topics deemed inappropriate include drug addiction and homosexuality, said the government-affiliated China Netcasting Services Association, which represents more than 600 members.

Under the government rules, such works as Georges Bizet's opera Carmen and Shakespeare's Othello would technically have to be banned for depicting prostitution and overt displays of affection, she said. Internet target filmmaker audit movie entertainment sports channel, new movies for 2017, Chinese blogger, vlogger, tv show, community small screen documentary value history affection law lawyer media "social media" VPN gossip stream streaming content arts creative "creative media" creativity enforcement rule rules society "social media" "next generation" "short film" lifestyle life website "build a website" China's online video market, including revenue from advertising and content purchases, had been expected to more than quadruple to around 96.2 billion yuan ($17.6 billion) by 2020 from 2015, according to 2016 data from IHS Markit.

We used to describe the constant drip of regulation as boiling a frog in warm water. Now it is outright scalding with
boiling water,. Wang Xiaoxiao, a talent agent who represents several actors who have gained fame online.

Note: English not the first language of the writer.