China's new internet rules harbor sinister goals

The flexibility of religious policy and authorities' excessive power create a threat to freedom of expression
China's new internet rules harbor sinister goals

A man uses a computer in an internet cafe in Beijing on June 1, 2017. China implemented a controversial new set of regulations to govern cyber content on March 1. (Photo: Greg Baker/AFP)

Just as with almost everything in China, new internet regulations that recently came into force aim to achieve something other than what is claimed.

The new regulations, the government claims, are meant to ensure national security and safeguard people's rights and interests in cyberspace. But the claims are actually a cover-up for something sinister.

The Regulations on Ecological Governance of Internet Information Content took effect from March 1. They look like a well-appointed system to stifle content that criticizes the government or promotes anything that counters communist thought, such as ideas of religion and gods.

The government claimed that the new rules were formulated in accordance with laws and administrative regulations such as the National Security Law, Network Security Law and the Administrative Measures for Internet Information Services. When all these laws exist, what is the need for a new set of regulations?

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