China censoring foreign video sharing sites

In an obvious effort to keep its citizens from seeing content that it hasn't already pre-approved, the Chinese government is about to block video sites it doesn't control.

The new laws in China will take effect at the end of the month. Under the policy, Web sites that offer streaming video in the country will need to obtain a permit to operate. Applicants will need to be either state-owned or controlled to qualify.

It is not known how sites like YouTube, which operates a Chinese-language service would qualify as a foreign company since its base of operations is in the United States. It is possible that access to YouTube could be blocked entirely by Chinese ISPs.

YouTube may be able to get around the new law if its servers are based in China, however it is not clear whether the company's Chinese site is hosted in the country or in the United States.

Banned material according to the law would be content with national secrets, content that sullies the reputation of the country, socially disruptive material, and pornography. "Those who provide Internet video services should insist on serving the people" and socialistic principles, the Associated Press reported the new policy as stating.

China's recent crackdown on Internet traffic may have something to do with meetings of the Communist Party, which took place in October of last year. Observers note that there seems to be a correlation between the meetings of the country's ruling party and crackdowns on free speech.

In October, around the time of the meeting, all search engines in China were redirected to state run Baidu briefly in what was believed to be an attempt to control the dissemination of information surrounding the event.


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