Tech titans at Tsinghua, as internet controls ratchet up, again


Jeremy Goldkorn’s selection of the top stories from China on October 30, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.


Tech titans at Tsinghua, as internet controls ratchet up, again

On the weekend, Tsinghua University — established in Beijing in 1911 and sometimes called China’s MIT — held the annual advisory board meeting of its School of Economics and Management.

  • In a story titled “Opening up of China means win-win cooperation for world: President Xi,” Xinhua News Agency reports that President Xi Jinping spoke at the meeting. Attendees included Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and the Blackstone Group’s Stephen Schwarzman.
  • Xinhua’s Chinese-language article on the meeting was the top story on all central state news websites.
  • In his speech, Xi focused on the importance of education and cultivating talent, but he also emphasized that China was open for business.

At around the same time that Mark Zuckerberg — whose Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp services are blocked in China — was listening to Xi talk about the benefits of China’s openness, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) released two new sets of rules:

  • Regulations governing management of news and information apps, which will require providers of social media and content to conduct self-assessments to make sure that there is no “illegal activity” (full text of rules in Chinese).
  • Measures on the management of media and tech staff who manage content, which require all such employees to abide by the Chinese constitution, laws, and administrative regulations; adhere to the correct political direction; correctly guide public opinion; and implement Party news and public opinion policies (full text of rules in Chinese).
  • The Wall Street Journal says (paywall) the new rules “follow a flurry of regulations since the country implemented a sweeping cybersecurity law in June.” They follow nearly a decade of ever-tightening controls on digital communications.
  • A different regulator, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), issued a regulation in August that requires people and companies that register internet domain names to verify the accuracy of their identity information; that rule goes into effect this week, according to the China Daily.

Talkin’ about my constitution

China Social Credit System has a translation of the updated Communist Party constitution, with all new amendments highlighted clearly in red. Even a quick read illuminates the renewed focus on ideology and Party control, the rising sense of nationalism, and the new emphasis on various types of “reform,” including this line on environmental protection: The Party must “raise the awareness that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets.”