As I've pointed out before, it’s interesting to see how Western media (Australia, in this case) and Chinese media portray the same issue. Here are two articles on the same event – new changes in how individuals can register websites in China.
The Age shows this as a new restriction in the Chinese internet while the China Daily shows this as a loosening of a previously tightened rule. Both seem factually correct, but the tone and interpretation are different.
As I mentioned before, it's probably best to read multiple news sources and form your own opinions.
China launches strict new Internet controls
February 23, 2010 - 9:35PM
China's technology ministry moved to tighten controls on Internet use Tuesday, saying individuals who want to operate Web sites must first meet in person with regulators.
The state-sanctioned group that registers domain names in China froze registrations for new individual Web sites in December after state media complained that not enough was being done to check whether sites provided pornographic content.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said that ban was being lifted, but would-be operators would now have submit their identity cards and photos of themselves as well as meet in person with regulators and representatives of service providers before their sites could be registered.
It said the rule was aimed at cracking down on pornography.
China has the world's biggest online population, with 384 million Internet users. The government operates the world's most extensive system of Web monitoring and filtering, blocking pornographic sites as well as those seen as subversive to communist rule.
The new regulations come as the government is in talks with Google Inc. about whether the U.S.-based Internet giant will be allowed to continue operating in China after saying in January it would no longer cooperate with the country's Web censorship. The two sides have given no details of the status of their discussions.
Chinese authorities have launched repeated crackdowns on online pornography and the government says nearly 5,400 people were detained last year.
China resumes individuals' website registrations
By Zhao Chunzhe (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-02-23 14:12
Individuals in China are now allowed to apply for websites, according to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, but applicants are requested to hand in a full-color photo, cnr.cn reported today.
The administration said both companies and individuals are allowed to register a website. Authorities will evaluate an applicant’s information in 20 weekdays and keep the information secret, the report said.
Individuals' domain name registration was called off December 14, 2009 in fighting against pornographic websites.