China is investigating its top social media sites, including WeChat and Weibo, for failing to comply with cyber laws, the latest step in the country’s push to secure the internet and maintain strict Communist Party control over content.
President Xi Jinping has made China’s cyber sovereignty a top priority and has also reasserted the ruling party’s role in limiting and guiding online discussion. Surveillance is being further tightened ahead of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party later this year.
Apart from Tencent Holdings Group Ltd’s WeChat and Weibo Corp, China’s Cyberspace Administration said it was also investigating Baidu Inc’s forum site Tieba over failing to comply with strict new laws that ban content which is obscene, violent and deemed offensive by the Communist Party. Just last month, all three were asked to carry out immediate “cleaning and rectification” at a meeting with authorities who cited examples of illicit content, including rumors about party officials and misrepresenting Chinese military history.