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Chinese President Xi Jinping has demanded 'absolute loyalty' from the state media. Beijing is also to oblige foreign media companies to obtain state permission before publishing online.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the country's top three state-run media outlets on Friday. In this rare tour, Xi told media editors and journalists to pledge total loyalty to the state and the ruling Communist Party and its leaders in "thought, politics and action."
Liu Yunshan, the party's propaganda chief, accompanied Xi on his visits to the People's Daily, the Xinhua news agency, and state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV).
"The media run by the party and the government are the propaganda fronts and must have the party as their family name," Xi told the media employees.
"All the work by the party's media must reflect the party's will, safeguard the party's authority, and safeguard the party's unity," Xi said. "They must love the party, protect the party, and closely align themselves with the party leadership in thought, politics and action."
New media regulations
Meanwhile, China is set to introduce a law to ban foreign firms from publishing online content. The foreign and partly-foreign companies will now require a prior state permission to publish content. The move, which will go into effect on March 10, is viewed by many as part of Beijing's ongoing efforts to control the digital realm.
The regulations define online publishing as the Internet of books, maps, music, cartoons, computer games and "thoughtful text," as well as other material.
Chinese websites are among the world's most censored. The communist state blocks many foreign websites with a system called the "Great Firewall of China."
In China, Internet service providers can only obtain a licence in partnership with a Chinese firm.
Authorities have also proposed a new law restricting the activities of international non-governmental organizations in the country. In an attempt to minimize "Western influence," Chinese authorities have banned a number of TV shows and movies.
shs/jm (AFP, AP, Reuters)