China seeks further control over internet Photograph:( Reuters )
Last year Chinese regulators had launched an anti-trust investigation into Alibaba's founder Jack Ma's business and had suspended his multi-billion dollar Ant IPO
Chinese authorities have reportedly drafted a regulation which would punish people who help internet users bypass its "Great firewall" and provide access to content not passed by regulators.
The proposed rule is still under consultation. It was unveiled over the weekend as China continues its clampdown on internet freedom.
The development comes as US tech giant Microsoft announced last month that it will be closing its career social site LinkedIn over "challenging operating environment".
Microsoft said it was facing "compliance requirements" in China. The company's career site was launched in 2014.
China's "Great Firewall" has increasingly become the focus of international attention after authorities restricted local internet giants accusing them of monopolistic practices and failing to ensure privacy of users.
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China's social media giant Tencent had taken a hit in revenues after regulatory crackdown. Last month, China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) had said large platforms needed to do more to ensure data protection.
The SAMR instructed the "super-large platforms" with over 500 million users not to take data from users without their consent as it targeted the big local giants Tencent and Alibaba.
Last year Chinese regulators had launched an anti-trust investigation into Alibaba's founder Jack Ma's business and had suspended his multi-billion dollar IPO of his fintech firm Ant Group. China's e-commerce giant faced a massive $2.75 billion fine as Ma's net worth plunged.
Authorities took the step after Ma reportedly said in a speech that the country's financial watchdogs were stifling innovation.
(With inputs from Agencies)