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Detailed Rules for the Licensed Management of Internet News Information Services

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Detailed Rules for the Licensed Management of Internet News Information Services

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Legal Updates
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Article 1 For purposes of enhancing standardized and scientific licensed management of Internet news information services, and promoting the sound and orderly development of Internet news information services, these Detailed Rules are developed in accordance with the Administrative Licensing Law of the People's Republic of China and the Provisions on the Administration of Internet News Information Services (hereinafter referred to as the “Provisions”).

Article 2 These Detailed Rules shall apply to the licensing of Internet news services by the State Internet Information Office and Internet information offices of all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government.

Article 3 Whoever intends to provide the public with Internet news information services via Internet websites, applications, forums, blogs, micro-blogs, public accounts, instant messaging tools, network-based broadcasting and other forms shall obtain a permit for Internet news information services, and is prohibited from conducting activities concerning Internet news information services without the permit or beyond the permitted scope.

Article 4 Internet news information services include the services of collecting, editing and releasing Internet news information, reposting news information, and providing a platform for users to disseminate news information.

In particular, “services of collecting, editing, producing and releasing Internet news information” means the services to collect, edit, produce and release news information. “Services of reposting news information” means the services to select, edit and release the news information that has already been published by other entities. “Services of providing a platform to disseminate news information” means services to provide users with a platform for them to disseminate news information.

Whoever is approved to provide services of collecting, editing and releasing Internet news information may provide services of reposting Internet news information at the same time. If any entity that is approved to provide services of providing a platform to disseminate Internet news information plans to provide the services of collecting, editing, releasing and reposting news information at the same time, it shall obtain the permit for collecting, editing, releasing and reposting Internet news information in accordance with the law.

Article 5 The applicant that applies for a permit for Internet news information services shall meet the following licensing conditions:

(1) It is a legal person legally formed within the territory of the People's Republic of China.

(2) Its principal person in charge or chief editor is a Chinese citizen.

(3) It has full-time news editors, content reviewers and technical support specialists suitable for its services.

(4) It has complete management rules for Internet news information services.

(5) It has complete information security management rules and safe and controllable technical support measures.

(6) It has venues, facilities and funds that are suitable for its services.

In particular, the applicant that applies for a permit for services of collecting, editing and releasing Internet news information shall be a news entity (including entities of which the shares are controlled by the news entity) or an entity under the administration of the news publicity department. A “news entity” means a newspaper and periodical agency, a radio station, a TV station, a news agency or a news and film studio formed upon approval by the relevant department of the state in accordance with the law. “Share control” means that the investment amount contributed or shares held accounts for 50% or more of the enterprise's total amount of capital or equities, or the investment amount contributed or shares held are sufficient to exert a significant impact on the enterprise's resolution although the investment amount or shares held do not reach 50%. News publicity departments include publicity departments, Internet information departments, and departments of radio, film and television at all levels, among others.

No organization may form an entity providing Internet news information services in the form of a Chinese-foreign equity joint venture, Chinese-foreign cooperative joint venture or foreign-funded enterprise.

Article 6 In accordance with Article 10 of the Provisions, the applicant that applies for the permit for Internet news information services shall submit the following application materials:

(1) Certificate proving that its principal person in charge or chief editor is a Chinese citizen, including a photocopy of the identity card of its principal person in charge or chief editor, among others.

(2) Qualifications of its full-time news editors, content reviewers and technical support specialists, including the basic information on relevant staff members, their press cards uniformly issued by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, practicing certificate of the news entity, relevant training and assessment certificates and other materials. The number of relevant staff members shall be suitable for the services which the applicant provides.

(3) Management rules for Internet news information services, including the rules for the chief editor of the website, and the rules for the education, training and examination of employees, among others.

(4) Information security management rules and technical support measures, including the rules for information release and examination, rules for the patrol inspection of public information, rules for emergency response, and rules for protecting users' personal information, among others, and the relevant technical support measures.

(5) A report on the security assessment of Internet news information services. It is a safety assessment report issued by the relevant department or relevant qualified institution for the applicant's information security management rules and technical support measures.

(6) A certificate proving the legal person's qualification, venues and capital, including photocopies of the enterprise's business license, the legal person certificate for public institution, the property ownership certificate of service premises, the lease contract and other materials.

(7) The application for the permit for Internet news information services, including the application form and descriptions of specific forms in which services are to be provided and service programs.

Article 7 The applicant that applies for the permit for services of collecting, editing and releasing Internet news information shall, in addition to submitting the application materials prescribed in Article 6 of these Detailed Rules, submit the certificate proving that it or its controlling shareholder is a news entity, or the certificate proving that its competent authority is a news publicity department as well as opinions of such competent authority. In particular, a certificate on the news entity may be a Newspaper Publication License, a Radio and TV Broadcasting Agency License, or a Periodical Publication License (any party holding a Periodical Publication License shall provide services of “news information” as mentioned in Article 2 of the Provisions as its principal business). Opinions of the competent authority shall include explanations of its relation with the applicant, and the assessment opinions on whether the applicant meets the licensing conditions, to which the official seal of the entity shall be affixed.

Any applicant that applies for a permit for providing a platform to disseminate news information on the Internet shall, in addition to submitting the application materials prescribed in Article 6 of these Detailed Rules, submit the rules for the management of users using platform accounts, the sample of user agreement, and the mechanism for dealing with complaints and reports, among others.

Where the applicant is an enterprise legal person, it shall, in addition to submitting the application materials prescribed in Article 6 of these Detailed Rules, submit the following equity-related materials:

(1) The equity structure chart, including the names of shareholders, shareholding ratio, form of capital contribution, time of capital contribution, and other information. If a shareholder is a non-natural-person subject, the natural person, public institution and wholly state-owned company must be traced level by level, and an explanation on the actual controller shall also be given. The entity's official seal and signature of the legal representative shall be affixed to the equity structure chart.

(2) Certification materials on shareholders. If the shareholder is a natural person, his or her identity certification materials must be provided. If the shareholder is a non-natural-person subject, materials on its name, organizational form and legal representative, among others, must be provided.

(3) The company's bylaws, including the company's bylaws and resolutions on previous amendments.

(4) A letter of commitment on no foreign investment. The applicant shall issue a written commitment that no shareholder listed in the equity structure chart has foreign investment.

(5) Opinions issued by a professional agency. A written certificate issued by a law firm or an accounting firm to prove the truthfulness, accuracy and integrity of the aforesaid equity materials, including a capital verification report, legal opinion and other materials.

Article 8 In accordance with Article 7 of the Provisions, where an Internet news information service provider cooperates with a domestic or overseas Chinese-foreign equity joint venture, a Chinese-foreign cooperative joint venture or a foreign-funded enterprise in businesses relating to Internet news information services, it shall report to the State Internet Information Office for security assessment, and submit the following materials:

(1) Information on the enterprise with which it plans to cooperate, including an introduction to the enterprise's basic information, business license or other legal person qualification certificates.

(2) Information on the intended cooperative business, including the letter of intent, the development plan of their cooperation, cooperation feasibility study report, and other materials.

Where the competent authority is a news publicity department, it shall also submit the opinions of the competent authority on such business cooperation.

Where an Internet news information service provider cooperates with a domestic or overseas Chinese-foreign equity joint venture, a Chinese-foreign cooperative joint venture or a foreign-funded enterprise in businesses relating to Internet news information services, which may result in the fact that the Internet news information service provider no longer meets the licensing conditions, the entity may be prohibited from passing the security assessment.

Article 9 The State Internet Information Office or the Internet information office of a province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government shall, after receiving application materials, handle the application according to the actual circumstances:

(1) Where the application materials are complete and satisfy the relevant requirements, it shall accept the application.

(2) Where the application materials are incomplete or do not satisfy relevant requirements, it shall inform the applicant of all required corrections or supplements at one time on spot or within five working days.

(3) Where the permit for Internet news information services is not required in accordance with the law, it shall not accept the application, shall inform the applicant immediately, and return the application materials.

(4) Where the applied matters are beyond its authority, it shall decide not to accept the application immediately, and inform the applicant to file the application with the relevant administrative authority.

Article 10 The State Internet Information Office or the Internet information office of a province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government shall, after accepting an application in accordance with the law, examine application materials in accordance with Articles 5, 6 and 7 of these Detailed Rules, including whether the applicant meets the licensing conditions, and whether the materials are true, among others.

During the examination, the State Internet Information Office or the Internet information office of a province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government may, according to the actual circumstances, hold an interview with the principal person in charge and chief editor of the applicant and conduct on-the-spot inspections at certain relevant places, such as the place where the website is granted recordation, the place where actual business activities are conducted, and the place where servers for the website are located.

Article 11 The State Internet Information Office or the Internet information office of a province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government shall, in accordance with Article 42 of the Administrative Licensing Law, decide whether to approve or disapprove the application within the prescribed time limit. If it grants approval, it shall issue a Permit for Internet News Information Services.

The Internet information office of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the Central Government shall, within seven working days from the date when the application is approved, report the relevant information to the State Internet Information Office.

Article 12 In accordance with Article 17 of the Provisions, an Internet news information service provider that intends to modify the following matters shall undergo modification formalities at the original approval authority within seven working days as of the date of modification:

(1) Modification of such matters as the company's bylaws, service premises, website name, and access service providers.

(2) Modification of such matters as the chief editor, principal person in charge, equity structure and website address, or it plans to launch an IPO, or conduct business combination or division.

In particular, if the Internet news information service provider no longer meets the licensing conditions as a result of the modification of the chief editor, principal person in charge, equity structure, or website address, or any other matter, or its plans to launch an IPO, or conduct business combination or division, the provider shall be punished in accordance with Article 23 of the Provisions.

Where an Internet news information service provider plans to increase new service categories, it must legally obtain the corresponding permit in accordance with Article 6 of the Provisions.

Article 13 To apply for undergoing the relevant modification formalities prescribed in Article 12 of these Detailed Rules, an Internet news information service provider shall submit the following materials to the original approval authority:

(1) An application for modification, covering the matters to be modified, reason for modification and other issues that shall be stated, to which the official seal of the entity shall be affixed.

(2) Materials on modification matters. The materials stating and certifying specific modification matters, including the basic information on the personnel involved in such modification, their qualification certificates, appointment and removal certificates, or the business license, company's bylaws, and lease contract, among others, after modification, to which the entity's official seal shall be affixed.

Where the equity structure is modified, relevant equity materials shall be provided in accordance with Article 7 of these Detailed Rules. If IPO is involved, the specific implementing plan on IPO-related activities, plan for being listed on the NEEQ, the information on strategic investors and other materials shall also be provided.

Where the modification of the items listed on the permit is involved, the original permit shall be submitted.

Article 14 The Permit for Internet News Information Services shall be valid for three years. Whoever needs to continue its Internet news information services after the validity term expires, shall, within 30 days before the expiration of the validity term, apply to the original approval authority for an extension according to the licensing procedures, and submit the following materials:

(1) An application for renewing the license. It covers the explanation on its previous business practices, statements on the licensing conditions listed in Article 5 of these Detailed Rules, and other issues that need to be stated, to which the official seal of the entity shall be affixed.

(2) The original permit.

Where the competent authority is the news publicity department, the opinion of the competent authority shall also be submitted.

Whoever fails to file an extension application in accordance with the law after the expiration of validity term of the Permit for Internet News Information Services shall not continue to provide Internet news information services, and the original permit shall be null and void.

Article 15 In accordance with Article 9 of the Administrative Licensing Law, the permit for Internet news information services shall not be transferred. Internet news information service providers shall not transfer the permit without approval due to its business adjustments, business combination, division or any other reason.

Article 16 Where an Internet news information service provider plans to terminate its services, it shall undergo deregistration formalities at the original approval authority within 30 days from the date when services are terminated, and submit the following materials:

(1) A deregistration application, covering the reasons for deregistration and other issues that need to be stated, to which the official seal of the entity shall be affixed.

(2) The original permit.

Article 17 In accordance with Article 19 of the Provisions, the State Internet Information Office and local Internet information offices shall establish their rules for supervision and administration integrating spot check, examination and other routine inspection and periodical inspection, and strengthen the supervision and inspection of Internet news information service activities. Relevant entities and individuals shall cooperate.

Supervision and inspection results shall be released to the public in accordance with the law and be subject to public supervision.

Article 18 These Detailed Rules shall be implemented with the Provisions at the same time.