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Chinese Netizen Punished for Accessing Wikipedia Website

Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported a social media post showing the screenshot of a notice from China’s Zhejiang provincial government that penalized a netizen for bypassing the great fire wall to browse the Wikipedia website. The police were able to locate and arrest the individual.

The facts, as shown in the notice, are about Zhang Tao, was the netizen who the police charged with the illegal activity. “From the first half of 2019 to October 2020, Zhang searched and downloaded the circumvention software LANTERN, with which he repeatedly bypassed the fire wall to access the Wikipedia website illegally to query information.”

The notice also stated that on Saturday October 24, the police seized Zhang and took him from a building for investigation. The police believed that Zhang used mobile circumvention software to access international networks in order to obtain information. It was an “unauthorized use of illegal channels for international networking.” The police imposed administrative penalties on Zhang under article 6 and article 14 of China’s “Implementation Rules for Provisional Regulations of the Administration of International Networking of Computer Information.” The police also issued an admonition and warning to him, ordering him to disconnect from the international network immediately.

The RFA reporter called the Zhejiang provincial government and asked, “How can you tell whether an Internet user was browsing the Internet illegally?” The answer was, “All activities circumventing the fire wall to browse anti-Party and anti-social content” are illegal.

The California-based China Digital Times found that there were nearly 70 cases of punishment for “bypassing the fire wall” as shown on the Zhejiang provincial government’s website.

Source: Radio Free Asia, October 29, 2020