The government-appointed agency in charge of China’s .cn domain
name announced earlier this month that individuals can no longer apply to
purchase new Web sites without ID and a business license, according to international
Internet users in China can still set up personal Web sites in other domains, the reports say. Many bloggers already do, to prevent the agency from deleting their .cn sites. But the new limits are the latest in a series of moves against online porn and crime which also threaten independent or anti-government expression online. After all, that is how coverage is so strictly controlled in the mainstream news media. News outlets often don’t want to risk offending the state, because they require state sponsorship to operate. And a registration process makes it much easier to track down the authors of critical articles. CPJ’s 2009 imprisoned list, released this month, is testament to the implications of a stricter application process for online commentators, the vast majority of the 24 cases CPJ documented in jail in China on December 1.
It’s not clear how much of an impact the regulations will have, but they do come at the end of a year of very tight Internet controls. The ostensible reasons for their being implementation—unrest in Xinjiang, National Day—have passed. But the restrictions, instead of loosening, are getting worse.
Madeline Earp is senior researcher for CPJ’s Asia Program. She has studied Mandarin in China and Taiwan, and graduated with a master’s in East Asian studies from Harvard. Follow her on Twitter @cpjasia and Facebook @ CPJ Asia Desk.
Censorship, surveillance, and harassment: China cracks down on critics
March 20, 2018 11:39 AM ET
Hours after the Chinese Communist Party proposed a constitutional change last month to lift presidential term limits, any words or phrases that remotely suggested President Xi Jingping was seeking a life term were blocked from social media. Censors targeted everything from "Emperor Xi," "The Emperor's Dream," and "Dream of...
Conditions deteriorate for foreign press in China, FCCC finds
January 31, 2018 1:40 PM ET
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China annual survey, released this week, showed a steady deterioration of working conditions in China for the foreign press. The report, "Access Denied," documented increased efforts by Chinese authorities to deny or restrict foreign correspondents' access to large parts of the country in 2017....
In response to Trump's fake news awards, CPJ announces Press Oppressors awards
January 8, 2018 5:00 PM ET
Amid the public discourse of fake news and President Trump's announcement via Twitter about his planned "fake news" awards ceremony, CPJ is recognizing world leaders who have gone out of their way to attack the press and undermine the norms that support freedom of the media. From an unparalleled...
In China, medical neglect can amount to a death sentence for jailed journalists
December 13, 2017 12:00 AM ET
Four months after Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo died of liver cancer shortly after his release from jail on medical parole, the writer and journalist Yang Tongyan died under similar circumstances in a Shanghai hospital. Like Liu, Yang had been seriously ill for several years, but Chinese authorities granted him...
It's too late for Liu Xiaobo but China could show a little kindness to other jailed journalists
July 14, 2017 2:21 PM ET
I have no pity for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who dug himself into a deep public relations hole with the unnecessarily cruel treatment of China's Nobel Laureate and political dissident, who died this week. Liu died of liver cancer in a Chinese hospital, after receiving medical parole in June...