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Hiding Information: The Communist Regime Intensified Blocking of Internet Messages

The Citizen Lab, according to the description on its website, “is an interdisciplinary laboratory based at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto. It focuses on research, development, and high-level strategic policy and legal engagement at the intersection of information and communication technologies, human rights, and global security.”

On March 3, the Citizen Lab published a report indicating that Beijing has intensified internet censorship and blocked many internet postings containing words related to the coronavirus, Xi Jinping, and the Communist Party, to prevent people from making negative comments about the regime.

Its key findings include:

“YY, a live-streaming platform in China, began to censor keywords related to the coronavirus outbreak on December 31, 2019, a day after doctors (including the late Dr. Li Wenliang) tried to warn the public about the then unknown virus.

WeChat broadly censored coronavirus-related content (including critical and neutral information) and expanded the scope of censorship in February 2020. Censored content included criticism of government, rumors and speculative information on the epidemic, references to Dr. Li Wenliang, and neutral references to Chinese government efforts on handling the outbreak that had been reported on state media.

Many of the censorship rules are broad and effectively block messages that include names for the virus or sources for information about it. Such rules may restrict vital communication related to disease information and prevention.”

It also found that Beijing has also blocked messages containing several words, for example, “习近平+疫情蔓延” (Xi Jinping + Epidemic spread), “武漢+中共+危機+北京” (Wuhan + CCP + Crisis + Beijing), “封城+部隊” (Lockdown of a city + Military).

Related postings on Chinascope:

Source: The Citizen Lab, March 3, 2020

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