By Tenzin Jigme, DIIR Social Media Journalist
With the advent of internet upsurge along with its sophisticated technology to transmit communication, world has witnessed unprecedented growth in information flow. Millions of internet users across the globe disseminate information at their finger tips. However, China is drawing its shutters and giving the internet a death blow.
Apparently, China has moved to censor the discussion about the toppling of former China’s main internet policy regulator Lu Wei. The Central Committee for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), China’s corruption bursting agency placed him under investigation. He was the head of China’s cyberspace administration from 2014 to 2016. It emerged that he had fallen victim to violations of Party (Communist) discipline.
According to the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) report, “More social media contents are blocked in Tibet than any other place in the People Republic of China. WeChat is the most popular social media apps in China and is widely used Tibetans in Tibet. The new Chinese Cyber Security Law will restrict freedom of expression.”
The latest development on cyberspace regulations in China is with the removal of internet phone services, particularly Microsoft’s Skype application, from the App stores. China blocked access to thousands of websites including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Reportedly China has ordered the state owned three telecommunications companies like China mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom to completely block access to virtual private networks (VPN) by February 2018. This move will massively affect the country academics, researchers and businesses.
To have absolute internet sovereignty the Chinese government has enforced the Great Firewall to regulate and block internet accessibility of foreign websites. Undoubtedly, under Xi Jinping’s leadership, China has witnessed a further crackdown on freedom of expression and an increase in surveillance. Throughout his tenure, restrictions on social media outlets have intensified, and the Cyber security Law was put into effect despite calls from the US to halt it. Also privately run artificial intelligence companies are collaborating with government to launch sophisticated surveillance techniques.
Netizens across the globe shared their opinions in Twitter and Facebook pages on the tightening of internet censorship in China which is against the freedom of expression and hinders the development of countries in the field of information.