China implements new internet regulations for search companies News
China implements new internet regulations for search companies

[JURIST] The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) [official website] on Saturday announced that search companies must abide by new internet regulations. The CAC stated [WSJ report] that search companies must produce results in line with national interests and must clearly distinguish normal results from paid ads which may display illegal and misleading information. Search companies are also required to properly report illegal content which may threaten national security or negatively impact public judgment. The new regulations follow an investigation into Chinese search company Baidu Inc. [official website, in Chinese] which began six weeks prior. The investigation was a response to raised national concerns triggered by the death of a cancer-stricken internet user who used Baidu as a source of medical information. Baidu has declared that it will firmly comply with new internet regulations and has promised to provide more reliable search results.

The Chinese government has been criticized for passing national security laws that tighten its control of civil society. Last July, China adopted [JURIST report] a new national security law that increased its cyber security powers, allowing authorities to broaden internet oversight and crack down harder against cyber attacks, thefts and the spread of harmful information. UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein subsequently deplored [JURIST report] the new law, criticizing its extraordinarily broad scope, vague language, and its threat to the freedom of expression.