The Great Firewall of China has just blocked The Washington Post, The Guardian, and NextShark, adding to its roster of blacklisted English news sites.
The move comes amid tightened censorship surrounding the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, which, for one, disabled Chinese citizens from performing certain actions on social media.
The Washington Post and The Guardian were reportedly among the last major English news sites accessible to mainland citizens.
Outlets such as Bloomberg, Reuters, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have been blocked for years, as well as social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube, to name a few.
CNN, which encountered harassment while reporting on the anniversary from Beijing, was also blocked after publishing a story on the matter last week.
“China’s internet censors rarely, if ever, communicate their reasoning for blocking specific websites, and it’s not clear whether the ban would be permanent,” The Washington Post wrote in an article following its ban.
While Chinese citizens bypass the Great Firewall using virtual private networks (VPNs), the government has also ramped up its methods of enforcing bans, the Post said.
For one, a 50-year-old software engineer found that all of his tweets had been deleted after failing to comply with the same request from state security officials in November.
Several weeks later, activists recorded at least 40 cases of Chinese authorities showing up at people’s homes, pressuring them to delete tweets.
China’s censorship practices, which authorities describe as a matter of “internet sovereignty,” are non-negotiable with foreign governments, the Post added.
London-based Guardian, which also published an article following its ban, described China’s “distinct” internet culture as “challenging the traditional vision of a unified global internet.”
“Western web and media companies have often faced a choice: comply with the censorship rules as a cost of doing business in one of the world’s biggest economies — or stop doing business in China,” the outlet wrote.
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