Information Control

Homosexual Content, Parody of National Heroes Must Be Removed from Online Programming

On June 30, China Netcasting Services Association, an industry body supervised by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, China’s media watchdog, published Guidelines on Online Audio-Visual Programs Content Auditing.

The guidelines, which come into effect immediately, require that there be at least three reviewers to audit the content of each online drama, microfilm, online movie, animation and documentary. At least two will check the content of specialized online programs to make sure it follows relevant laws and regulations.

According to the guidelines, the tone of a online programming should “sing the motherland, eulogize heroes, celebrate our times in song, and lead the people to hold the correct historical, ethnic, national and cultural view”.

Content that undermined a respectful national image, ridiculed leaders, promoted negative or decadent views of life and showed “abnormal sexual relations and behaviours such as incest and homosexuality”  would be edited, or in severe cases stopped.

Sina Weibo Disables Video Uploads Longer Than 15 Minutes

In response to Chinese regulators’ scrutiny last week, Sina Weibo, China’s largest Twitter-like service, announced on Wednesday that it has disabled the function for uploading videos longer than 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Weibo users without the License for Dissemination of Audio-Visual Programs through Information Network 信息网络传播视听节目许可证 are not allowed to upload current affairs programs to the platform.

MOC Shut Down 12 Livestreaming Apps 

The Nasdaq-listed Weibo Inc. is not alone in facing unique challenges related to content control in China. Internet companies operating in China are all required to follow censorship rules by regulators. Failure to comply will lead to heavy fines or revocation of business licenses.  Just a day after Weibo’s announcement, People’s Daily reported that the Ministry of Culture has shut down 12 live-streaming apps amid a cleanup campaign of illegal content online.

CCP Party Branch Reaches Out to Chinese Online Stars

In addition to shutting down platforms and censoring content, CCP has found new ways to disseminate “positive energy” online. Wuhan-based Douyu became the first to set up a “Party Branch for Online Stars” 网红党支部 among all Chinese live-streaming platforms. The branch is directly supervised by the CCP Party Committee at Douyu.

No VPN Apps on Chinese Appstores Since July 1

According to Boing Boing, starting July 1, the official Android and Apple App stores will no longer allow Chinese users to download the VPN apps that Chinese netizens rely upon in order to get around the Great Firewall of China.

The news does not come too surprising. On June 22, Green VPN, a popular Chinese VPN app, announced that it will terminate its service from July 1, 2017. Earlier this year, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) announced that it will scrutinize unregulated services including VPNs.

China Releases Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo from Prison for Cancer Treatment

The Nobel-winning democracy activist imprisoned by China after leading a call for democratic reforms has been released to a hospital for treatment of late-stage liver cancer. Jailed 11 years for subversion in 2009, Liu Xiaobo was behind bars when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010, his absence starkly marked with an empty chair on stage.

The news was first released in China by Liaoning Prison Administration Bureau, where it briefly stated that “Liu Xiaobo, serving his term in Jinzhou Prison in Liaoning, has recently been diagnosed with liver cancer. Liaoning Prison Management Bureau has released Liu Xiaobo to a hospital for treatment according to laws.”

NetEase, one of China’s largest news portals, reposted the announcement, which, surprisingly, went through on the Chinese Internet, and unsurprisingly, was taken down approximately three hours later.

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Read more:

SCMP,  Who is Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and what’s his story?

Canada & China

Canada, China Agree to Stop Corporate Hacks

Canada is latest country that inked cyberagreements with China, after the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Brazil and Russia. According to the agreement, neither governments will conduct state-sponsored cyberattacks aimed at stealing each other’s private-sector trade secrets and proprietary technology.

U.S. officials claim that Chinese hackers have stolen valuable intellectual property and other business secrets from Western high-tech firms, drug makers, financial institutions and other companies. Since Washington and Beijing signed their accord in 2015, there has reportedly been a noticeable drop in Chinese state-sponsored hacking of U.S. companies.

However, cybersecurity experts seem to be skeptical of these agreements. Instead of backing off from hacking completely, China may merely be switching to “front door” means to obtain advanced and sensitive technology from the West.

According to the Globe and Mail, Chinese investors have two high-profile purchases of technology companies in Canada in he past four months: ITF Technologies of Montreal – the maker of military-grade laser technology – and Vancouver-based Norsat International, which sells satellite communications to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the U.S. Defence Department and Canadian Coast Guard.

Read more:

Globe and Mail: Pentagon to review contracts with Norsat after Chinese takeover

Globe and Mail: Our China conundrum needs a national discussion

Meanwhile, observers say China is redirecting its cyberattack efforts at other foreign targets and political groups. Security firms FireEye and CrowStrike report that there are more Chinese state-supported hackers spying on Russian and Ukrainian military targets, Indian political groups and the Mongolian mining industry. The Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs has documented a number of targeted attacks against Tibetans and Hong Kong pro-democracy groups over the years. 

Society & Technology

Beijing Subway Wants to Go Cardless

China is fastening its move towards a cashless society.  According to Caixin, Beijing’s subway authorities are trying to get more people to use their smartphones to pay for metro fares amid the explosion in China’s digital payments market.

Beijing is not the only city in China that has introduced card-free public transportation. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Nanjing also allow commuters to pay for fares with their smartphones.

Worth your read:

WSJ, China’s All-Seeing Surveillance State Is Reading Its Citizens’ Faces

China Goes Global

China Unicom. Huawei Marine and Camtel to Build SAIL Cable System

Backed by investment from Huawei Marine, China Unicom and Camtel, the SAIL system links Cameroon and Brazil, a length of 6000 kilometers. Adopting Huawei Marine’s 100G technology, the system has 4 fiber pairs and a design capacity of 32Tbit/s. SAIL is the first direct access cable that connects Africa and South America.

Caixin, Thailand Telecom Deal Sends Buzz Through ZTE Stock

Nikkei, Huawei Plans to Build Large-size Factories in Japan

SCMP, Tech firms, backed by industry giants, line up for IPO frenzy over next 18 months

Article of the Week

Tencent Dominates in China. Next Challenge Is Rest of the World

Ordinary users, marketing experts, media practitioners, government officials — China’s WeChat has almost a billion users, and many of them use it all day. So Bloomberg’s Brad Stone and Lulu Yilun Chen ask, why isn’t the company everywhere by now? The answer is worth your read.