In a further sign of China’s determination to reign in an unruly Internet, public apologies were exacted yesterday from two Websites by an enigmatic quasi industry body that seems to function as a new soft-serve form of censorship, allowing party leaders to control media while keeping their actions at arms length. [BELOW: Coverage of recent Internet "counseling conference" at Sina.com's news page].
The sites in question, UUsee.com, a Website offering downloads of television programming and videogames, and interactive media Website Zol.com.cn, whose parent company is CNET Networks International Media, reportedly submitted themselves to a “legal investigation by government offices into illegal practices” after being censured by the Beijing Internet News and Information Counseling Conference (北京网络新闻信息评议会), a body created in April last year to execute a contract on self-discipline ratified by major Websites in China, part of Hu Jintao’s campaign for a “civilized Web” (文明办网).
Both sites were named in a public notice from the Counseling Conference on April 3 that fulminated against lapses in ideological discipline, saying the sites had disseminated “harmful information,” “forgotten justice in the pursuit of profit, offered [content] harmful to social morality, harmed the general mood of society, invaded the health of the youth, [and] breached the Socialist core value system.”
This last transgression was a nod to the pet ideology of Chinese President Hu Jintao, whose notion of a “Socialist core value system” is part of a recent reworking of party terminology in the cultural sphere, and subsumed by the overarching notion of “harmonious culture” (和谐文化).
In a statement yesterday, the Beijing Internet News and Information Counseling Conference demanded UUsee.com and Zol.com.cn post public apologies on their sites by May 10 and “carry out immediate and deep rectification,” and made a motion for government authorities to “carry out investigations of illegal behavior in accordance with the law.”
[Posted by David Bandurski, May 10, 2007, 12:50pm]