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China steps up crackdown with ban on online video spoofs

China has directed online video sites to ban video spoofs as part of an intensified crackdown on content deemed to violate core socialist values, Reuters reported, citing Xinhua News Agency.

The ban applies to videos that "distort, mock or defame classical literary and art works," according to an "extra urgent" March 22 order from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television quoted by Xinhua, effective immediately. Content makers and distributors that do not comply in due time will reportedly be shut down.

The order follows China announcing an overhaul of its government structure, including moves that could tighten the ruling Communist Party's hold on the media. The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television will be abolished, with the government planning to form a state radio and television administration directly under the State Council, the country's cabinet.

The proposed administration will draft and implement policies, coordinate the development of broadcasting projects and industries, import radio and television programs and promote the global expansion of China's broadcasting and television industry.

The planned government overhaul follows a vote by lawmakers to remove presidential term limits, giving President Xi Jinping the power to rule for life.

More recently, China has also reportedly approved the merger of its state television and radio networks into one mega broadcaster, which will be called Voice of China.