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Wed, Oct 26 2011 7:32:12 UTC

China to intensify social media censorship

China held a leadership conclave this month and produced a communique with guidelines adopted by the Communist Party's Central Committee. The broad policy calls for the highest level reaction so far to online social media, setting an agenda for broader control and censorship of all information going through those channels.

While the document makes it clear not to snuff out micro-blogging services, policy makers are called to better control them. The Government plans to ''Strengthen guidance and administration of social Internet services and instant communications tools, regulate the orderly dissemination of information, [and] apply the law to sternly punish the dissemination of harmful information.''

There's no mention of what type of data would be censored, but based on past practices, it's clear that anything that goes against the Party's wishes, whether it's political actions, criticism, or even creative expression, is at risk. Some experts think that this will not be applied fairly, and that corporations which fuel China's growing economy will not see much change, unlike many ordinary citizens. There's also a fear that these micro-blogging platforms will auto-censure themselves in fear, and become bland, uninteresting, and will stifle creativity.

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