In a further sign of China’s determination to reign in an unruly Internet, public apologies were exacted yesterday from two Websites by an enigmatic quasi industry body that seems to function as a new soft-serve form of censorship, allowing party leaders to control media while keeping their actions at arms length. [BELOW: Coverage of recent Internet “counseling conference” at’s news page].


The sites in question,, a Website offering downloads of television programming and videogames, and interactive media Website, whose parent company is CNET Networks International Media, reportedly submitted themselves to a “legal investigation by government offices into illegal practices” after being censured by the Beijing Internet News and Information Counseling Conference (北京网络新闻信息评议会), a body created in April last year to execute a contract on self-discipline ratified by major Websites in China, part of Hu Jintao’s campaign for a “civilized Web” (文明办网).
Both sites were named in a public notice from the Counseling Conference on April 3 that fulminated against lapses in ideological discipline, saying the sites had disseminated “harmful information,” “forgotten justice in the pursuit of profit, offered [content] harmful to social morality, harmed the general mood of society, invaded the health of the youth, [and] breached the Socialist core value system.”
This last transgression was a nod to the pet ideology of Chinese President Hu Jintao, whose notion of a “Socialist core value system” is part of a recent reworking of party terminology in the cultural sphere, and subsumed by the overarching notion of “harmonious culture” (和谐文化).
In a statement yesterday, the Beijing Internet News and Information Counseling Conference demanded and post public apologies on their sites by May 10 and “carry out immediate and deep rectification,” and made a motion for government authorities to “carry out investigations of illegal behavior in accordance with the law.”
[Posted by David Bandurski, May 10, 2007, 12:50pm]

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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