China requires approval for foreign firms to publish online

BEIJING, China – China is requiring foreign companies and foreign-Chinese joint ventures to acquire approval before publishing content online, in the government’s latest move to tighten control of the digital realm.

Under new regulations announced this week, firms with at least part-foreign ownership will be banned from publishing on the mainland text, pictures, maps, games, animation and sound “of informational or thoughtful nature” without approval from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

China’s leadership has broadly sought to reel in public speech and thought in recent years, with an emphatic focus on the country’s fast-growing Internet industry.

The explosive rise of social media messengers and streaming TV services, for instance, has prompted Chinese censors to introduce new regulations that cover digital and social media.