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China Issues New Restrictions on Foreign Media


China's official news agency, Xinhua, says it has been authorized to determine what news and information foreign media can distribute in the country.

Xinhua issued new regulations Sunday saying information may be banned from distribution if it is deemed to undermine China's national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The state agency said it has the right to delete any material released by foreign news agencies that it does not approve of.

Xinhua said the regulations may also be applied to news agencies in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan that distribute information to the mainland.

It is unclear how the regulations would affect foreign news agencies in China that do not necessarily distribute their reports within the country.

China's foreign ministry, which oversees the accreditation of foreign media, has not commented on Xinhua's report.

The Chinese government has faced criticism for withholding important information about social and environmental problems in the country. Human rights groups have also slammed Beijing for persecuting independent journalists.

VOA has correspondents based in China. However, its broadcasts and its Web sites are generally blocked by Beijing.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP