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More Press Restrictions In China

The Chinese government continues to tighten its grip on the flow of information.

The official state Xinhua News Agency announced new regulations that require foreign news agencies to distribute stories, photos, and other services solely through Xinhua or entities authorized by Xinhua. The new regulations appear primarily targeted at the business operations of foreign firms that distribute financial information in China. However, the rules also reiterate broad, vaguely-worded prohibitions against reports that disrupt "China's economic and social order or undermine China's social stability," as well as reports that undermine the country's national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity."

These new regulations are just the latest in a series of measures the Chinese government has taken to extend its control and censorship of information available to its citizens.

As U.S. State department deputy spokesman Thomas Casey stressed, the United States views "any attempt to restrict the free flow of information in China or anyplace else with great concern" and "certainly would view such measures as incompatible with China's aspirations to build a modern, information-based economy."

Mr. Casey added that "ultimately, freedom of the press is a fundamental right, and it's one that is recognized in China's constitution. And we would certainly be opposed to any steps that would restrict it.

The United States encourages China to allow for the free flow of information. As President George W. Bush has said, "by meeting the legitimate demands of its citizens for freedom and openness, China's leaders can help their country grow into a modern, prosperous and confident nation."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.