China’s internet media exchange media exchange closing its doors amid a global media backlash and a media backlash over China’s crackdown on dissidents and journalists.
The company is also grappling with a growing number of reports of fake news on its websites and online news sites.
The Canton Daily News, a leading Chinese newspaper, has called for the company to shut down, citing a “media crackdown” and “disastrous” quality of content.
“I can see that this news agency has not just a problem with the quality of the articles, but also with the fact that there is no news at all,” the newspaper said in an editorial.
Cantonese newspaper the China Daily called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to step down, saying his government is “a tyrant” and must be stopped.
The newspaper said the government’s recent crackdown on media outlets and their coverage of the Beijing Olympics was a “flagrant assault on democracy”.
Citing a report from the US-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Research, the newspaper reported that Chinese authorities had shut down more than 300 news outlets, including some of the country’s most respected newspapers, over the past year.
“In the past two years, the Chinese government has banned and censored thousands of media outlets, even including state media,” the report said.
The committee’s report said China has “criminalised dissent and media freedom”, while its crackdown on the press has led to “mass media closures” and an “unprecedented level of media censorship”.
The Beijing Olympics were the biggest event in Chinese history and were the culmination of decades of reforms under the Communist Party.
Chinese officials have said the Games were part of a broader push to reform China’s state-run media, and were not intended to undermine the countrys image as a democracy.
In a separate case, state-owned media in Guangzhou, where the Games are held, reported that China had detained two journalists for “insulting” the leadership.
China has blamed the attacks on a “small group” of “reactionaries” who had set up fake news websites.
China Daily, which is owned by the China Post, also published a story on Thursday saying that a Chinese man had been detained on suspicion of “insults” to the party leadership and said the investigation had found no evidence of any crime.
China’s foreign ministry, which declined to comment on Cantonese media, said the newspaper’s story was “utterly wrong”.
The government’s actions have led to a surge in protests and online criticism in the country, where dissent is often illegal.
In June, the Communist party’s top decision-making body, the National People’s Congress, said it would ban online news websites, and it ordered the government to investigate “all media activities” on social media.
Last month, Chinese President Hu Jintao met in Singapore with Singapore’s foreign minister, who called on the country to stop its “unacceptable” online censorship.
On Thursday, Chinese media outlet China Daily reported that Mr Xi had spoken to President Xi by phone, in which they discussed the “serious problem of media interference” and the “unnecessary media interference”.