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WeChat, Chinese Social Media to Pare Content That ‘Bad Mouths’ Chinese Economy

The Chinese government is cracking down on financial journalists and commentators who aren’t officially registered with the government, the Global Times, an English-language newspaper controlled by the country’s Communist Party, reported.

Explaining the reasoning for the government’s move, an August 29 article in the paper states, in part: “Under the regulatory requirements, self-media accounts that distort China’s financial policies and macroeconomic data, badmouth the domestic financial market and economy, spread rumors and ‘inside information,’ maliciously hype speculation in the stock and housing markets, and publish financial columns pretending to be government insiders or scholars will be punished.”

Four major Chinese web and communications sites issued statements Saturday announcing they would restrict accounts deemed problematic by the government’s new policy. They are WeChat, Douyin, Kuaishou and Sina Weibo.

The Global Times articles states the government is “intensifying a crackdown campaign on problematic online social media accounts that illegally publish financial information and engage in fraud and other illegal activities.”

The article continues: “The scrubbing and removal of illegal financial media accounts, as part of the normalized supervision of the capital market, is crucial to maintaining a stable financial market and defusing financial risks, a top priority for Chinese regulators, experts said.”

The Global Times quoted an analyst it called an internet expert named Liu Dingding as having said the government’s new initiative “shows that internet governance in China has entered a new stage, and the laws and governance are in place and basically synchronized with China’s development path. Whenever problems occur in an industry, the authorities will soon target it.”

As PYMNTS reported in early August, Chinese authorities have been applying strict scrutiny to high profile internet companies such as WeChat. One move against WeChat called out the company for not doing as much as critics thought was necessary to curb use by young people.

See more: Chinese Regulators Slap Tencent’s WeChat With Lawsuit

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