China Cracks Down on Foreign Magazines

10 April 2006

Publishing authorities in China have strengthened their grip on the inflow of information by quietly introducing restrictions on foreign magazines.

The General Administration of Press and Publication claims that an "internal rule", purportedly introduced last year, led to the shutdown after just one issue of the Chinese edition of US-based rock title Rolling Stone.

GAPP will now only allow the launch of foreign science and technology magazines through tie-ups with local partners. Magazines already approved will carry on publishing.

GAPP denies the rule directly caused Rolling Stone's demise, saying: "[It] should have reported and sought approval from the relevant state authority. . . It wasn't a question of their content. It's just like they were driving a car without a license."

Last year the Communist government issued new restrictions on foreign investment in satellite TV and other media ventures with the aim of defending "national cultural security".

Comments media advisor David Wolf: "This has far reaching implications, not just for foreigners, but also their local partners. But in China there's a big difference between passing a regulation and actually enforcing it, and this regulation is no different."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff