China orders tighter Internet controls on religion, politics བོད་སྐད།

China issued new rules on Thursday cracking down on the posting of "harmful" political or religious videos online, two weeks after footage of police allegedly beating Tibetan monks circulated on the Internet.

The rules ban online videos that harm national stability, "instigate hatred between ethnic groups" or "maliciously disparage" the nation's police or armed forces, a notice on the government's main website said.

The India-based government of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, last month released footage allegedly showing brutality by Chinese security forces in Tibet.

The video appeared to show Tibetans, some in monks' robes, being shackled and beaten by police during anti-Chinese protests across the Tibetan plateau in March last year.

After the clips appeared online, access to video-sharing site YouTube was unavailable in China.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman this week refused to confirm whether the government had blocked the site.

Chinese authorities have a history of blocking websites they deem politically unacceptable or offensive, and their censoring of the Internet has created a so-called "Great Firewall of China".

The tightened restrictions, issued by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, also took aim at sexual and religious content.

Information for this report was provided by AFP.