China has issued new regulations that will create a so-called 'whitelist' of approved websites as part of its ongoing anti-pornography campaign.
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) in Beijing has introduced a plan that will see no more domain names registered, and only allow Chinese citizens access to sites on an approved list.
This means some innocent sites could well be blocked, as well as those deemed politically sensitive.
Chinese media has said that foreign sites that haven't registered with the Ministry to go on the approved list could be blocked, too. The Beijing News reported:
"If some legal foreign websites could not be accessed because they haven't registered with MIIT, it would be a pity for the Internet which is meant to connect the whole world."
China and censorship
Currently China uses a blacklist system, where sites considered bad or dangerous are blocked when discovered.
This is, after all, the country that wanted all computers to be fitted with Green Dam software that would have acted as a censor and also operates the 'Great Firewall', although it's just one of many countries that blocks parts of the Net. As we noted last week, even Australia is considering a national web filter.
In the last 12 months China has blocked Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr, as well as several sites used within China for sharing content. The government has tried to launch its own Twitter imitator for citizens, but angry users flooded it offline.