Coronavirus pandemic shows global consequences of China’s local censorship rules

Jun 14, 2020 by

China’s heavily regulated social media platforms have been removing and banning references to the Covid-19 pandemic

  • China’s heavily regulated social media platforms have been removing and banning references to the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Censorship trackers say impeding the flow of information may have hampered the global response
The death of Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who was reprimanded for warning colleagues about the coronavirus outbreak, led to a spike in online censorship. Photo: AFP
The death of Li Wenliang, the Chinese doctor who was reprimanded for warning colleagues about the coronavirus outbreak, led to a spike in online censorship. Photo: AFP
Cui Yongyuan

may not be a household name in the West, but the former state media television host has almost 20 million social media followers in China, or about double those tracking the Twitter account of CNN’s Anderson Cooper in the US.

Cui was one of the highest profile bloggers on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, where he was known for his social commentary and whistle-blowing.

But last year his posting stopped and in May he found that posts containing his nickname “Xiaocui” had been blocked.

That same month his account on WeChat, China’s biggest social media platform with 1 billion active users worldwide, was suspended citing fraud, according to screen shots he posted on Twitter

“My name is censored. Are you trying to force me to the other side?”, he wrote on Twitter on May 15, referring to him having to use Western social media.

Cui, who teaches at the Communication University of China in Beijing, has also written about the Covid-19 disease outbreak and may be the latest victim of China’s censors to join the ranks of the “digital migrants” – a term for those who have been driven on to foreign social media platforms.

Source: Coronavirus pandemic shows global consequences of China’s local censorship rules | South China Morning Post

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