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Asia Pacific Censorship News

2021: Jan-March

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Best Short Docmentary...

Hong Kong bans broadcast of the Oscars Award Ceremony as China is sensitive about a nominated film about the Hong Kong democracy protests

Link Here29th March 2021
Full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
Do Not Split is a 2020 Norway / USA documentary short film by Anders Hammer
Starring Lucie Fouble and Colette Marin-Catherine IMDb

In 2019 Hong Kong was rocked by the largest protests since Britain handed back the area to China in 1997. This is the story of the protests, told through a series of demonstrations by local protesters that escalate into conflict when highly armed police appear on the scene.

For the first time in more than half a century, Hong Kong movie-lovers won't be able to watch the Oscars. The city's largest TV network TVB won't broadcast next month's ceremony after China asked media to play down the awards, following the nomination of a documentary on Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests and concern over the political views of Best Director contender Chloe Zhao .

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that the Communist Party's propaganda department told all local media outlets to scrap live broadcasts of the Oscars and focus coverage on awards that aren't seen as controversial.

China is wound up by Do Not Split, which chronicles the 2019 demonstrations against China's tightening grip over the former British territory and was nominated for best short documentary.



Devotion to sales...

Video game under censorship duress from China opens its own international sales website

Link Here14th March 2021
The Taiwan games developer Red Candle fell fowl of China's censorship reach over the inclusion of a Winnie the Pooh meme poking fun at the Chinese president Xi Jinping.

That got the horror themed game Devotion banned from games distributors, most notably Steam. The games has been mostly blocked ever since.

After running into nothing but trouble on other people's platforms, the game's developers have decided to just sell the game themselves, opening up an online store for international customers that is selling digital, DRM-free copies of Devotion, and also their previous game Detention.

Developers Red Candle say that all future releases will also be on their own shop, and will also be free of DRM.




North Korea offers a series of supervisory options to punish children for watching porn

Link Here25th February 2021
North Korea is stepping up punishments and intensifying a crackdown based on the anti-reactionary thought law adopted at the end of last year. The law seems to have strengthened the authorities' repression and control over citizens in the country.

According to a source in North Pyongan Province, a teenage boy who was caught watching pornography at his home in Sinuiju earlier this month has been exiled to the countryside along with his parents.

The teenager was watching a pornographic video late at night when his parents were not at home. He was caught during a surprise inspection by a task force created to monitor deviant behavior.

Article 29 of the new law calls for sentences of five to 15 years of correctional labor for consumption or possession of pornographic videos or books, photos or drawings that preach superstition. Individuals who produce, import or distribute such materials may get life sentences of correctional labor or even the death penalty, depending on the quantity of the material.

However, it appears that because the anti-reactionary thought law does not prescribe punishment regulations for adolescents, the punishment was set to deportation instead of correctional labor. Articles 34-38 of the law stipulate fines of KPW 100,000 to 200,000 if a reactionary thought crime occurs due to the irresponsible education of children and orders the entire family to move to the countryside as punishment for the parents.



Choke point...

Cambodia is demanding that ISPs route their internet traffic through a state censorship gateway

Link Here18th February 2021
The Cambodian government's new National Internet 'Gateway' will enable the government to increase online surveillance, censorship, and control of the internet, Human Rights Watch have said.

On February 16, 2021, Prime Minister Hun Sen signed the decree on the Establishment of the National Internet Gateway. The decree requires all internet traffic in Cambodia to be routed through a a censorship  hub. It would allow for blocking and disconnecting [of] all network connections that affect safety, national revenue, social order, dignity, culture, tradition and customs. The grounds for action are both overbroad and not defined, permitting arbitrary and abusive application of blocking and disconnecting powers.

Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch deputy Asia director said:

Prime Minister Hun Sen struck a dangerous blow against internet freedom and e-commerce in Cambodia by expanding the government's control over the country's internet, said Phil Robertson. Foreign governments, tech companies, e-commerce businesses, and other private actors should urgently call on the government to reverse the adoption of this harmful sub-decree.

The government decree requires ISPs in Cambodia to reroute their services through the National Internet Gateway within the next 12 months, before February 2022.



Tit for tat...

China bans British propaganda channel BBC World Service in response to Britain banning Chinese propaganda channel CGTN

Link Here11th February 2021
China has banned the BBC in mainland China. State media reported that the British broadcaster would not have its licence renewed by China's media regulator at the start of the Chinese new year.

The move follows the decision last week by the UK TV censor, Ofcom, to strip the Chinese state broadcaster CGTN of its licence in the UK.

The Chinese authorities claimed that BBC World News was found to have seriously violated regulations on radio and television management and on overseas satellite television channel management in its China-related reports.

BBC World News was not available in most domestic news packages in China but could be viewed at some hotels.

Recent BBC reports on China's handling of the coronavirus outbreak and abuses in Xinjiang's internment camps are thought to have infuriated the authorities.



Licensed to repress...

China bans private individuals, bloggers and citizen journalists from reporting news

Link Here2nd February 2021
China's internet censor has announced a further step in the censorship of online news reporting.

China already requires any organization publishing news or current affairs-related content to hold a license from the country's media censor. Now in the latest step, China will ban private individuals, bloggers and citizen journalists from posting news-related information online without a license.

The move was announced by Zhuang Rongwen, deputy director of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP)'s central propaganda department, during a Jan. 29 online conference. Zhuang told the conference:
We must control the source of online texts, and resolutely close any loopholes.  The standardized management of citizen journalism should be a priority, with increased punishments for offenders and actual teeth for regulators.

China's Cyberspace Administration also included the announcement in an official statement on its website.



Labelled as repressive...

China outlines an age rating system for video games

Link Here21st January 2021
China first announced consideration of age ratings for games in November 2019. In December 2020, China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association, an industry organization that works closely with the state censor, the National Press and Publication Administration, released its outline standards on age labeling for online games.

Full details have not yet been published but the outline suggests that the games will be pre-censored by state censors but producers will assign the age classifications. Note that China simply does not allow adult content in games, regardless of ratings, so maybe the state can be more relaxed about assigned age categories.

Under China's age labeling standards, online games will be categorized into 3 types: 8+, 12+ and 16+. Each given age label must be used together with the game descriptions or warnings on the game's official website, log-in or start screen, as well as promotional materials.

However having selected an age classification games providers will have to strictly enforce the rules. The game publisher will have to put in place mandatory measures including ID verification system and restrictions on gameplay hours or in-game purchases. In addition, for the games with age labels of 8+ and 12+, the publishers shall make available a specific privacy policy for young users below 14.




China takes control of the Hong Kong internet domain

Link Here17th January 2021
The company which approves Internet domains in Hong Kong said it will now reject any sites that could incite illegal acts, a further reduction in Hong Kong freedom after Beijing's imposition of a national security law on the Chinese-ruled city last year.

Holders of .hk domains were advised of the policy change late on Thursday, after Internet service provider Hong Kong Broadband Network (HKBN) said it had blocked access to HKChronicles, a website offering information about anti-government protests.

The Hong Kong Domain Name Registration Company (HKDNR) alerted holders of .hk domains to the new acceptable use policy by its parent, Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Limited (HKIRC), which goes into effect on Jan. 28. It said it could reject applications for new .hk sites that it believes could incite criminal acts, abuse privacy or provide false or misleading information.

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