China’s internet censorship

China’s internet censorship

By controlling what people can and cannot see, China has turned the internet into a tool of government.

Clubhouse China crackdown leaves users out in the cold
A new audio-only social media app that cracked China’s firewall and gave a glimpse of what a free speech China might look like, has been shut down by authorities and left millions of fans frustrated. On Monday, the invite-only, voice-chat Clubhouse app appeared to have been blocked in China, just days after Chinese language chat rooms where guests – including Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Nathan Law, a Hong Kong activist in exile - spoke about politically-charged topics that had been banned on other platforms. When mainland Chinese users of the app tried to log on to the app, they received an error message that read: “SSL error has occurred and a secure connection to the server cannot be made
China LGBT groups squeezed as China tightens rules on internet publishing
New rules to crack down on online speech in China have sent a chill through China’s LGBT community, who worry that organizing efforts or discussions of their lived experience will violate the new regulations.  In late January, the Cyberspace Administration of China instituted strict restrictions on self-publishing for working journalists, notably criticizing their act of practicing “we-media,” a phrase that refers to bloggers who have built up a sizable following on social media platforms.  These new rules quickly expanded and touched almost everyone in China, and self-publishers will need to get an official license to publish about current affairs. But they were a particular cause for conce
Instagram crashes through China's Great Firewall to woo wealthy shoppers
Banned in China but popular among the country’s elite, American-owned social media site Instagram is a ‘gold mine’ for international brands to reach the country’s luxury shoppers, according to experts. Launched in 2010, Instagram is part of a long list of websites and apps banned by the Chinese government. Facebook, Google and Twitter were blocked, followed a few years later in 2014 by Instagram. In its place, Chinese-owned social media sites have sprung up, gaining millions of followers for a local audience. But experts believe that many international brands are missing out on the vast captive audience of some of the richest, most sophisticated customers in the country, as Instagram has ris
Digital ‘cleanse’: TripAdvisor among 105 apps blocked in China
China’s powerful internet regulator has removed 105 apps, including TripAdvisor, as part of an ongoing crackdown to clean up cyberspace. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement on Tuesday the apps were considered to be in violation of several laws and regulations, although it would not provide details of the “illegal” content. It said they were pulled from stores in an effort to stop the spread of “obscene, pornographic, violent and other illegal” online content, including gambling and prostitution. Most of the apps belonged to Chinese companies, and it was unclear why the US travel giant Tripadvisor, which features hotel and restaurant reviews, was caught up in the
How China engineers an alternative internet for its people 
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. Stretching along the entire border of mainland China is an invisible barrier, dubbed the Great Firewall, that keeps out information that the Chinese authorities deem inappropriate. Sites such as Facebook, Google, Twitter – and Inkstone – are inaccessible in the mainland thanks to this metaphorical wall. The list of banned websites is ever expanding. While software to bypass the wall exists, the sophisticated system of censorship has become a powerful tool for the ruling Chinese Communist Party to strengthen its rule by limiting what China’s 900 million in
China’s coronavirus censorship at home comes at a global cost
Cui Yongyuan may not be a household name in the West, but the former state media television host has almost 20 million social media followers in China, or about double those tracking the Twitter account of CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the US. Cui was one of the highest-profile bloggers on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, where he was known for his social commentary and whistle-blowing. But last year his posting stopped and in May he found that posts containing his nickname “Xiaocui” had been blocked. That same month his account on WeChat, which has 1 billion active users worldwide, was suspended citing fraud, according to screenshots he posted on Twitter. “My name is censored. Are you tryi
Chinese activists detained after posting censored Covid-19 news
Three Chinese activists who helped publish censored articles about the coronavirus outbreak have been detained by police in China.  The trio – Cai Wei, Chen Mei and Cai’s girlfriend (a woman identified as Tang) – were contributors to a crowd-sourced project known as Terminus2049, hosted on the popular software collaboration site GitHub. Started in 2018 and named after a remote planet in Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novels, the project has been collecting articles that had been removed from mainstream media outlets and social media in China. Terminus2049 is hosted on Microsoft-owned GitHub, one of the world’s largest depositories for code that has remained largely uncensored in China. Widel
China has blocked one of the world’s biggest fanfiction sites
Archive of Our Own (AO3), one of the world’s biggest fanfiction sites, appeared to be blocked in China on Saturday as regulators further tightened internet controls. Some users furiously blamed fans of a popular actor for the government’s action. “Unfortunately, the Archive of Our Own is currently inaccessible in China,” the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a US non-profit group that operates AO3, said on its Twitter account. It added that it could not resolve the problem since the disconnection is not caused by AO3’s servers. OTW did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday. Calls to the country’s internet watchdog, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) a
Whistle-blower’s death sets off a torrent of anger at China’s government
The death of one of the first Chinese doctors who alerted others about the coronavirus outbreak before it killed hundreds of people, including himself, has unleashed an outpouring of anger and grief toward the government. Dr Li Wenliang, a 34-year-old ophthalmologist in Wuhan, the central city where the virus was discovered, was admonished by the police for warning others about the previously unknown coronavirus in a chat group before officials disclosed it to the public. Li’s death, from pneumonia caused by the coronavirus, was first reported by Chinese media on Thursday night. The Wuhan Central Hospital, where he worked, said he died at 2.58am on Friday. Overnight, Li’s death has become th
He rose to fame for exposing fake kung fu. Now he just wants to ‘survive’
For professional fighters, nerves before a match come with the job. But for Xu Xiaodong, China’s most controversial mixed martial artist, successfully leaving the country on a clear, cold day in November seemed like an impossible challenge. Standing in the departure hall of Beijing’s new international airport on a planned trip to Bangkok, Xu looked calm. But beneath the barrel-chested facade, the 41-year-old was full of worry. He felt like he was taking a huge gamble. Would he be allowed to board the flight to Thailand to take part in the most important fight of his life?  Two years ago, before Xu began taking on China’s kung fu establishment, the answer would have been a resounding yes. But