Japan, U.S. Concerned About Restrictions on Foreign News in China

There’s been a lot in the mainstream press on China’s decision to restrict access in China to news produced by foreign agencies. Here’s a news hit on the diplomatic consequences.

(Kyodo) — Japan is keeping a close watch on China’s newly announced curbs on foreign media news distribution while it examines the new rules, a Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

“In general circumstances, freedom of the press is a basic right that should naturally be respected. From such a standpoint, our country is taking an interest and keeping an eye on the (latest) moves within China,” Mitsuo Sakaba, the ministry’s press secretary, said at a news conference.

Sakaba was referring to China’s announcement of new rules on Sunday in which foreign news organizations are required to seek approval from the state-run Xinhua News Agency to distribute news in China.

The new rules, which took effect immediately, gave Xinhua the right to select news and information foreign media release in China and to delete news content deemed prohibited.

The United States has expressed concern over the rules.

China, for its past, has rejected criticism that such rules constitute a form of authoritarian information control that harms Chinese people’s freedom, saying they are aimed at strengthening the rule of law.

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