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China sets new Net controls

Beijing, Sept. 25 (Reuters): China set new regulations on Internet news content today, widening a campaign of controls it has imposed on other websites, such as discussion groups.

“The state bans the spreading of any news with content that is against national security and public interest,” Xinhua news agency said in announcing the new rules, which took effect immediately.

The news agency did not detail the rules, but said Internet news sites must “be directed towards serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests.”

Established news media needed permission to run a news website, it said. New operators had to register themselves with government information offices.

China has a dedicated band of cyber police who patrol the Internet with the aim of regulating content. Postings that criticise the government or address sensitive topics are quickly removed.

Registration was a feature of rules imposed earlier this year aimed at not-for-profit Internet activities, such as personal websites and blogs.

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