Paul Mozur at the New York Times has it right in a tweet:
China draft law either cuts off the Internet, makes it harder to host websites in China, or does something else: https://t.co/dsGoDq6p0y
— Paul Mozur (@paulmozur) March 29, 2016
And Beijing is most likely looking at doing both.
Social stability is a major concern of the government leadership. The economic slowdown is now causing massive layoffs with more to come. Industrial workers and the growing middle class in China are now under threat of loosing the economic stability promised by the government.
For so long the Chinese government has basically told the people of China that if they — the people — don’t push for political reform, the government will implement economic reform that will make everyone’s lives better. Now that businesses in China have to start cutting back on employees, that protection is gone and the leadership is afraid the people may demand changes that will challenge the iron heel rule of the Communist Party.
Rather than deal with the issue of economic AND political reform, Beijing is just going all out to make sure information about how bad the economic situation is does not get wide distribution.
Controlling Internet content has always been a part of that plan. So now, the new rules on domain names looks to be another step by the party leadership to control information.
- NYT: Beijing Seeks to Tighten Reins on Websites in China
- China Digital Times: China Previews Murky Web Domain Rules
- Global Times (Official China publication): Draft rule targets Chinese domain name supervision