01/09/2018, 13.56
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Official data on internet censorship

by Wang Zhicheng

In 2017, 128 thousand sites were blocked, 30.9 million books confiscated; 1900 people arrested and punished. The "USSR syndrome".

Beijing (AsiaNews) - Throughout 2017, authorities for Internet control have shut down 128,000 sites, according to state agency Xinhua, in a report underlining the "dangerous" nature of the blocked sites.

In addition, to combatting "pornography and illegal publications", in the last year the censors confiscated 30.9 million publications and arrested and punished 1900 people. Among the sites that have long been blocked there is also AsiaNews.it.

China has the largest number of internet users (over 700 million) and applies spasmodic control over content and the dissemination of unauthorized news.

Information and facts that are subject to censorship range from "mass incidents" (demonstrations, revolts, strikes, etc ...), to ethnic and religious issues, to criticism of the Chinese Communist Party.

Several Internet sites hosted by major providers such as Tencent, Baidu, Weibo, last year were fined for not censoring content that discussed the issues of the Party Congress, held last October. In November and December, all the news concerning the expulsion of migrants from the suburbs of Beijing were wiped from the internet.

Internet censorship grew with Xi Jinping's coming to power five years ago. In addition to the firewall - the filter that does not allow Chinese customers to receive news and data from abroad on issues such as democracy, Tibet, the Tiananmen massacre, religious issues, etc ... - for several months the Vpn (Virtual Private Network) that allowed the Chinese to bypass the Firewall have also been under control.

The government continues to defend its policy for the "good of the people" and for "social stability", but critics say that the control serves only to exclude any criticism of the Party. According to many scholars, the Party is suffering from "USSR syndrome", the failure of communism after allowing glasnost (transparency) and revision of history. To avoid the fate of the USSR, China is increasingly stepping up its social control.

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