Xinhua News Agency on Sunday promulgated a set of measures to regulate the release of news and information in China by foreign news agencies and the subscription of such news and information by users in China and to promote the dissemination of news and information in a sound and orderly manner.
Xinhua News Agency formulated the Measures for Administering the Release of News and Information in China by Foreign News Agencies in accordance with national laws, administrative regulations and the relevant regulations of the State Council.
With 22 articles, the Measures go into effect as of the date of promulgation.
Xinhua News Agency, as China's state news agency, is the legally authorized institution to exercise unified administration over the release of news and information in China by foreign news agencies.
According to the Decision of the State Council on Establishment of Administrative Licenses for Items Subject to Administrative Examination and Approval That Need to Be Retained, foreign news agencies shall be subject to approval by Xinhua News Agency for releasing their news and information in China, and shall have entities designated by Xinhua News Agency act as their agents. Foreign news agencies shall not directly solicit subscription of their news and information services in China.
The Measures state that news and information released in China by foreign news agencies shall not contain any of the following that serves to:
-- violate the basic principles enshrined in the Constitution of the People's Republic of China;
-- undermine China's national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity;
-- endanger China's national security, reputation and interests;
-- violate China's religious policies or preach evil cults or superstition;
-- incite hatred and discrimination among ethnic groups, undermine their unity, infringe upon their customs and habits, or hurt their feelings;
-- spread false information, disrupt China's economic and social order, or undermine China's social stability;
-- propagate obscenity and violence, or abet crimes;
-- humiliate or slander another person, or infringe upon the legitimate rights and interests of another person;
-- undermine social ethics or the fine cultural traditions of the Chinese nation;
-- include other content banned by Chinese laws and administrative regulations.
The Measures say Xinhua News Agency has the right to select the news and information released by foreign news agencies in China and shall delete any materials mentioned in the items above.
"To subscribe to news and information services of foreign news agencies, a user in China shall sign a subscription agreement with a designated entity and shall not, by any means, directly subscribe to, translate, edit or publish the news and information released by a foreign news agency," according to the Measures.
In using news and information from a foreign news agency, the user in China shall clearly indicate the sources and shall not transfer them to another party in any form, the Measures say.
The Measures make detailed regulations on a foreign news agency's legal credentials in its home country or region, the requirements of releasing news and information in China, release application procedures, and on the distribution of foreign news and information undertaken by designated entities in China.
The Measures also specify penalties for violations in the releasing, distributing or using of news and information from a foreign news agency in China.
If a foreign news agency violates the Measures, for example, Xinhua News Agency shall give it a warning, demand rectification within a prescribed time limit, suspend its release of specified content, suspend or cancel its qualifications for releasing news and information in China.
Xinhua News Agency shall impose disciplinary penalty on violations by a staff member who, for example, fails to perform his duties of supervision and administration, or abuses his powers.
These Measures shall be applied mutatis mutandis to release of news and information on the mainland by news agencies and other news and information releasing entities of the nature of a news agency in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan.
The Methods for the Exercise of Administration over Publication in China of Economic Information by Foreign News Agencies and Their Information Subsidiaries, promulgated by Xinhua News Agency on April 15, 1996, are repealed simultaneously.