Crackdown on Microblogs Targets More than Vulgarity: Chinese Dissidents


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Chinese authorities say they’ve closed more than 200 microblogs containing vulgar content. They have trumpeted the crackdown as a success in reducing harmful online content. But some critics say other types of content are also being censored, and the regime is keeping those details secret.

The Chinese regime is stepping up its censorship of microblogs—a medium growing in popularly for the public to express opinions and share news. Last week, state-run media Xinhua News Agency reported authorities shut down more than 200 accounts with ‘pornographic’ or ‘vulgar’ content. Dissidents say those accounts are not the main target though, and that many others are being targeted in secret.

A volunteer for an online rights advocate tells Radio Free Asia, the Chinese regime’s latest censorship campaign is a pretence to crack down more on critical online content.

[Pu Fei, 64Tianwang.com Volunteer]:
“They’re using this propaganda of successfully shutting down pornographic and vulgar sites to cover up the fact they’re simultaneously blocking websites containing dissenting opinion, and those promoting human and civic rights…The regime only ever announces the number of vulgar sites its closed, but has never talked about how many sites they’ve shut down for being ‘politically uncooperative.’”

Freelance reporter Zan Aizhong has had six microblog accounts shut down so far.

[Zan Aizhong, Freelance Reporter]:
“The regime doesn’t say whether it’s closed down more accounts containing blacklisted or politically sensitive words than those with pornographic or vulgar content. [I believe] if 500 of the vulgar-content accounts are shut down, then more than 1,000 of politically sensitive accounts would be closed. The regime purposefully leaves this detail out for its propaganda.”...