China's technology regulator rejects criticism of proposed Internet rules that could block access to foreign websites, saying there was misunderstanding about what some people see as a way to tighten control over cyberspace. Ryan Brooks reports.
As foreign firms fear that their websites could be blocked in China - Beijing says "relax". Experts are warning that a proposed change to internet rules could shut off access to sites that aren't registered with a local provider. Essentially letting Chinese censors decide what people see. Beijing says the draft law has been misunderstood But as Reuters Paul Carsten reports, reassurance from the Communist Party isn't enough to calm eveyone. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS PAUL CARSTEN, SAYING: "Officials say this has nothing to do with the rest of the internet, basically and doesn't at all affect websites that aren't based in china. It only really affects chinese websites. They say fears are overblown and there's been a misunderstanding. However, they still didn't clarify the phrases in the draft regulations that have people worried. Foreign business groups are saying that the major issue with these regulations is that they are open to an extremely broad interpretation, they're very vague rules, and those broad interpretations. " For years China has operated the world's most sophisticated online censorship program. But under president Xi Jinping, the so-called great firewall has taken on a whole new meaning. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS PAUL CARSTEN, SAYING: "We've seen an unprecedented attempt to control and censor the internet here. Now the party is way more upfront about the fact that it needs to control the Internet, it needs to control the public sphere, it needs to control civil society and what people are saying." Officials promise to quote "earnestly study" feedback on the proposed changes to Chinese internet law. Most analysts agree that whatever the outcome, the new rules will more than likely put greater control in Beijing's hands.