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Monday, 2 October, 2000, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
China tightens internet controls
Security officials looking at website
China is keen to police the web
China has announced tough new rules on internet companies which will limit foreign investment and crack down on "subversive" content.

The rules will hold internet content providers responsible for broad categories of "illegal content", according to an official report quoted by Reuters news agency.

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Such content includes anything which is deemed subversive, supports cults, harms China's reputation, or hurts reunification efforts with Taiwan.

In addition, internet content and service providers must keep records of all content and users for 60 days, and hand them to police on demand.

Licence

Commercial sites will also have to have a government licence to operate.

Existing sites have been given two months to provide detailed information about themselves to the government for approval.

Any company which operates without a licence or exceeds the business scope outlined in its application will be fined or shut down, according to reports.

There will also be restrictions on foreign investment.

Content providers will have to win the approval of the Ministry of Information Industry before receiving foreign capital, co-operating with foreign businesses, or attempting domestic or overseas stock listings.

Many Chinese internet content providers are heavily reliant on foreign capital, and China has until now largely refrained from curbing outside investment.

The regulations, passed by China's cabinet two weeks ago, were published by the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph on Monday.

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