(Radio Free Asia) - China issued a ban starting Friday on the sale of foreign publications without an import permit, in what activists said is the next step in the ruling Chinese Communist Party's quest for total thought control.
The new rules came into effect on the online shopping platform Taobao on Friday banning sellers from offering "overseas publications."
"In order to ... create a safe and secure online shopping environment and to enhance consumer confidence and satisfaction, Taobao has embargoed sales of foreign publications," the company said in a statement on its website.
The change, which also includes foreign "services" relating to publications, will enter into force on March 10, 2017, it said.
Violations of the rule leading to "serious consequences" will result in the deduction of 48 seller points, it said.
The move comes after five Hong Kong booksellers were detained for selling "banned books" to customers across the internal immigration border in mainland China.
Pan Lu, of the Hubei-based rights group Rose China, said the administration of President Xi Jinping is currently tightening control over every aspect of public discourse.
"They are clamping down on ideology and public opinion," Pan said. "They can't afford to allow a pluralistic value system to seep into China via the consumer market for foreign publications."
"The Chinese Communist Party is terrified that its own single-party ideology is bankrupt, and it is trying to shore up its grip on power by controlling what people think."
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|On the other hand, some movies |
should be banned.