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.
“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.
View this post on Instagram
Via @postopinions: Yaqiu Wang was 1 when the Tiananmen Square crackdown happened. Growing up in China, she was led to believe from her history books that the protests were nothing more but “a little dispute.” It wasn’t until she graduated in 2005 that she stumbled across the truth in an Internet café. “It took me several more years to understand the context and significance of the Tiananmen movement and the government’s response,” she tells the Post. Go to @PostOpinions to read more.
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.
View this post on Instagram
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, when Beijing security forces opened fire on students and workers calling for greater political freedom. Estimates for the death toll range from a few hundred to 3,000. A secret UK diplomatic cable released in 2017 put the figure at at least 10,000. In neighbouring Hong Kong, activists are commemorating the event with an annual candlelight vigil attracting about 180,000 people. Contemporary artist and activist @aiww wrote that “injustice is timeless. It haunts us and affects our state of mind until the day justice is served.” China has issued few statements about the Tiananmen crackdown, which is largely omitted from the country’s history books. Photos: Edwin Kwok/AP + Kin Cheung/AP + Anthony Kwan/Getty Images + Jérôme Favre/EPA
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.