Newly announced regulations by China's Cyberspace Administration will reinforce the Communist Party's ability to police online news content. From the start of June, all producers and distributors of online news must have party-accredited editorial staff. The rules come into force at the same time as the new cybersecurity law.
The cybersecurity law has raised concern among foreign technology firms operating in China. The law mandates that foreign firms store certain data on servers in China, as well as get approval of their technology and permit system inspections by the authorities (BOFIT Weekly 2016/46). The EU and US Chambers of Commerce in China oppose the new law. In recent weeks, they submitted several requests that the government postpone the law's implementation.
The new cyber security law and the tighter controls on online news conflict with China's strategies for economic reform and opening the economy. Some observers say the media restrictions are part of party efforts to keep a lid on social unrest that could emerge as economic growth slows.