February 25, 2016 6:33 AM EST

On Feb. 19, China’s President Xi Jinping visited the offices of the nation’s biggest media outlets to demand that journalists “speak for the [Communist] Party’s will” and to order them to undergo Marxist training. This is just the latest incident in Xi’s mounting assault on already limited press freedoms.

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New rules forbid foreign companies from publishing “informational or thoughtful” online content within China unless preapproved by the government. U.S. publishing giants from Dow Jones to Facebook could be affected.


Xi has called for Internet sovereignty, the idea of restricting the free flow of online data across national borders. Recent legislation criminalizes any digital content that could be deemed a national-security threat.


In 2015, China had the largest number of reporters behind bars of any nation, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. Bloggers and writers can be jailed for any reporting considered to cause “serious social disorder.”

This appears in the March 07, 2016 issue of TIME.

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