China shuts several online news operations

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Beijing, July 26: China has closed down several online news columns for independently reporting and publishing articles on issues that are potentially sensitive, the country's state media said on Monday (July 25).

Major portals in Chinese language like Sina, Sohu, iFeng and Netease have shut some of their political and social news sites and social networking accounts after the authorities strongly criticised them for "violating law and regulations", the Beijing News said in a report.

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The programmes "uploaded and published a large number of news reports gathered and edited by themselves", causing "particularly vile impact", it said, quoting an unnamed official with the internet control department.

The sites are also facing penalty, the official said, without divulging details.

Journalists working with private news portals in China are only permitted to cover sports and entertainment events and are needed to refer to reports released by the state-controlled media like Xinhua for more serious news stuff related to politics and society.

However, some websites, largely driven by commercial enterprises, have formed their own news accumulating and investigative teams and have eventually earned the state's wrath.

News operations in China operate under a strict control of the Communist Party. The web and social media are monitored by the cyber police who filter items that are considered politically and socially sensitive.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had said in February this year that journalists in the country must display absolute display to the Communist Party.

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