China plans to impose new rules on online clips

Online videos, an increasingly popular form of independent media, will face new censorship restrictions in China, state media, quoted by an AFP report, said.

According to Xinhua news agency, Web sites which broadcast short films would need approval from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television when regulations are issued in late August or September, the AFP report said.

Only the well-known Chinese-language portals Sina, Sohu and Netease had been pre-approved by the administration as authorized providers of online videos, the report said.

The shorts, often parodies of classic movies or events in everyday life, had quickly grown in popularity on the Internet in China as elsewhere around the world, the report said.

However, they had stirred controversy in China about morality and intellectual property rights protection, according to Xinhua.

The move would likely be seen in the West as another attempt by Communist Party rulers to stifle free expression and control the flow of information on the Internet, the report said.