China orders halt to video streaming on major websites

BEIJING - China's media oversight body announced Thursday that it has ordered three prominent Internet companies to terminate their video and audio streaming services.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television said in a statement that the sites - including the massively popular Sina Weibo microblogging platform, and ACFUN - did not possess the permits required for providing their audio-visual streams.

The sites featured "many politically-related programs that do not conform with state rules and social commentary programs that propagate negative remarks and opinions," the statement said.

It added that authorities have been ordered to shut down the offending audio-visual services "so as to create a cleaner cyberspace".

Weibo, a Twitter-like social network, had 340 million monthly active users at the end of this March - surpassing Twitter itself during the same period.

iFeng is an online news portal, while ACFUN is known for its "bullet-screen", a function which features scrolling marquees of viewers' real-time reactions to their videos.

Earlier this month, the Beijing Cyberspace Administration ordered internet companies to shut down social media accounts peddling celebrity gossip and "catering to the public's vulgar taste".