Every comment on every website in China must now be vetted before it's published

Carefully vetting every single piece of user-generated content (UGC) before it’s allowed to be posted to a website is a daunting task.

But China is clearly up for the challenge.

The country’s so-called Cyberspace Administration has released a new policy that requires all comments on websites to be approved before they’re published.

The new rules were outlined in a document published last week entitled: ‘Provisions on the Administration of Internet Thread Commenting Services’.

It will mean any company or individual that runs a website where people can post comments will need to hire ‘a review and editing team suitable for the scale of services’.

These newly-installed comment moderators will have to vet every single one prior to publication and flag any potentially illegal information to the Administration.

And it goes even further. Any site that does allow readers to post comments must collect their real names and verify their identity before allowing them to submit comments.

The tighter controls seem to have come following online criticism of the Chinese government’s recent mandatory lockdowns as it tried to battle a fresh onslaught of Covid-19.

Internet censorship in China is already widespread and rigorously enforced, which can make it a bit tricky for trvellers who are used to relying on certain sites and apps.

The vast majority of sites that are blocked are western, so Chinese locals are not affected as much by the intense levels of censorship.

Here are all the social media sites that are blocked in China and some of the bigger website that you can’t get onto thanks to the Great Firewall of China:

Social media sites blocked in China

  • Blogspot
  • Facebook
  • Facebook Messenger
  • Flickr
  • Google Plus
  • Instagram
  • Periscope
  • Pinterest
  • Quora
  • Reddit
  • Slack
  • Snapchat
  • Tinder
  • Tumblr
  • Twitch
  • Twitter
  • WhatsApp
  • YouTube

Other notable sites and streaming services banned in China

  • ABC
  • BBC
  • CNN
  • Dailymotion
  • Dropbox
  • The Economist
  • Gmail
  • Google
  • Google Docs
  • The Guardian
  • Le Monde
  • Netflix
  • New York Times
  • Reuters
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Wikipedia (in English)
  • Yahoo

However, it is possible to access some of this blocked contest in China using a VPN (virtual private network) app.

Last year China also started to put limits on the amount of tech that young people can use.

The country’s officials decided that teens would also be limited to three hours’ of online video gaming per week.

The strict new rules were announced by the Xinhua state news agency after parents reported gaming addiction was getting in the way of their children’s studies and health.

Game makers will be required to set up anti-addiction and real-name verification systems and ‘resolutely’ implement them.

China’s games regulator the National Press and Publication Administration said it would step up inspections of companies to ensure the time limits were being enforced.

It added that parents and teachers can play key roles in curbing gaming addiction.

An administration spokesperson said: ‘Teenagers are the future of our motherland. Protecting the physical and mental health of minors is related to the people’s vital interests, and relates to the cultivation of the younger generation in the era of national rejuvenation.’

The restrictions, which apply to any devices including phones, go far beyond rules made in 2019 when China cut playing time to 90 minutes on any day and three hours on holidays.

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