Since President Xi took power in 2012, China has launched an unprecedented crackdown on online freedom.
Date: 25 Apr 2019
By: Madeline Roache
Thirty years ago, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square became a symbol of pro-democracy protests the
world over as the site of several important events in Chinese history witnessed a deadly military crackdown. It crushed the protests led by students, eventually costing more than 10,000 lives.
The crackdown became one of the most censored topics on the Chinese internet. Around this time of the year, certain websites, including Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and some Google services, are either fully blocked or temporarily “blacked out”.
The government aims to prevent discussion of the crackdown and also to erase the event from Chinese history, particularly among the younger generation, according to journalist and author James Griffiths.
“Chinese authorities are afraid of collective action against the government,” said Griffiths, the author of The Great Firewall of China: How to Build and Control an Alternate Version of the Internet.
Since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, China has launched an unprecedented crackdown on online freedom, submerging the internet in propaganda and punishing journalists who post the “wrong” content.
Under Xi, China has blocked about 26,000 Google search terms and 880 Wikipedia pages.