China Sets New Rules on Online Videos, Adds Censorship to Religious Content

02/06/2019 China (International Christian Concern) – In January, the China Netcasting Services Association (CNSA) issued new regulations stating that all programs due to be posted online must be reviewed before they are authorized for broadcast, part of Beijing’s sweeping censorship of religious content.

According to UCA News, any content in violation of the state’s religious policy is unlikely to be deemed fit for broadcast.

The Regulations on Administration of Online Short Video Platforms and the General Rules for Reviewing Netcasting Content were published on CNSA’s official website on January 9.

Based on these rules, all short videos, including their program title, summary, bullet screen, comments, and other content should be reviewed before posting.

What’s more, short videos are banned from depicting any activities which the Chinese Communist Party (CPC), which has recently been targeting members with religious beliefs, sees as relating to religious extremism, so-called cult organizations, and their primary members, as well as their respective “doctrines” and ideology.

Another rule suggests the censors would step in with a heavy hand if any content due to be published online “inappropriately” compares the merits and demerits of different religious denominations, especially if this could provoke disputes and conflict.

Other red flags include excessively displaying and promoting religious doctrines, rules and rites; muddling religious extremism and the lawful practices of religion together; making fun of or ridiculing religious content; and delivering malicious speech that is considered harmful to ethnic and religious sentiment.

Whether or not the government has the manpower to implement these rules remains a challenge. Nevertheless, this shows that Beijing has intensified the monitoring of Chinese citizens, and they are increasingly losing their freedom of speech.

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