1) Why needlessly bring attention to the fact that China censors the internet? Just gives the western media something else to write about.
2) Why warn Sina in public? Its shares, and those of other Chinese tech companies have crashed as a result. Is the idea to close foreign financial markets to these companies and make them more dependent on Chinese state banks for support?
2.1) It also says that all companies, domestic or foreign, are expected to be totally under the party's control.
2.2) It also emphasizes that individual companies are responsible for their own censorship. The government isn't content doing it itself.
2.3) And yet there is no list of approved or prohibited topics, no specific legal code to refer to. Its completely arbitrary. Makes the push for rule of law look very hollow.
3) Why warn Sina in English? Most of the time when they talk about kooky censorship rules, they only publish the story in Chinese.
4) Why Sina? If you want to scare some companies into compliance, why not pick a foreign one? The previous policy of closing doors for foreign web sites and promoting domestic ones was awful, but at least it was logical.
4.1) The former CEO of Sina is the former president's son in law. Yet another reason they could have picked a more politically neutral company to make an example of.
5) Why now? This comes right on the back of revelations that Baidu was used by the gov to hack Github, and also that the Chinese digital certificate issuing authority (CNNIC) was engaged in some suspicious behavior by issuing unrestricted sub-certificates. The international reputation of Chinese tech is not in a good place at the moment.
6) What's the message to Chinese tech entrepreneurs? It sure kills the mood. Would you want to take a crack at an internet service when the gov has this attitude?
7) Why so extreme? Sure, scold the company for not being more vigilant in censoring stuff. But to allude that the whole company could be shut down as a result is really extreme.
8) Generally speaking, what is the benefit? This hurts domestic Chinese firms, discourages local innovation, brings attention to an issue China doesn't like to talk about, and there's nothing urgent going on that would demand enhanced censorship. If anything, I'm more suspicious than I was yesterday that something is seriously amiss.
As you can tell, I think this story is very significant, more so than a lot of grander sounding pronouncements. It seems to be a needlessly heavy handed way to accomplish something that has been successfully handled discretely for decades. Xi really seems crazy about control.