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China tightens iron grip on internet with new law

Number of cases deemed by Beijing to be problematic rose 20% last year

China's proposed rules would raise maximum fines for spreading false internet rumors.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China is strengthening its viselike hold on the internet, significantly broadening the range of activities that are subject to regulation by updating legislation for the first time in two decades.

This past Friday, the nation's internet watchdog unfurled draft amendments to rules regulating online services. The proposal is the first major revision its kind since the directives were first put in place in 2000. It would double the number of articles to 54 from 27 to accommodate the rise of smartphones, social media and video-sharing sites.

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