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China vows to shut down unapproved mobile news apps

The state says it will ban any app that refuses to rectify itself "to maintain order of news dissemination on the mobile internet," according to Reuters.

The Chinese government is threatening to quash any mobile news app that doesn't follow its guidelines, Reuters reported on Monday.

This latest campaign is aimed at mobile apps that serve up news without the approval of the government. China's State Internet Information Office claimed that some of the news apps targeted in the crackdown provide "pornography and obscene information and harm the physical and mental health of youngsters," while others simply offer false information, Reuters said.

One app on China's radar is Zaker, which publishes information from newspapers, Web sites, and blogs. Another app is Chouti, whose motto is "Publish all that should not be published."

China already blocks many major foreign online news outlets and articles from its citizens. Mobile apps can provide a way around such blockades by including unapproved articles in their content. But the Chinese government has apparently gotten wise to such apps, vowing to shut down any that refuse to rectify themselves to follow local laws.

The country also is trying to clamp down on the spread of what it calls "online rumors." If a particular rumor is posted to a Web page that has 5,000 or more visits or is reposted on social-networking sites more than 500 times, the person who published the rumor could face a sentence of up to three years in jail.