China Denies Claims Of Online Information Censorship

The Cyberspace Administration of China, the top cyber regulator in the country, dismissed a report that placed it in last place for freedom of press. It ranked last out of 65.

According to news from Reuters, Ren Xianliang, vice minister of the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) told journalists that the internet has to be “orderly” and that it should get support from other countries in fighting fake news and other cybersecurity concerns. The Chinese internet’s rapid buildout during the last 20 years is proof that it allows the free flow of ideas and information, Ren claimed.

“We should not just make the internet fully free, it also needs to be orderly … the United States and Europe also need to deal with these fake news and rumors,” Ren said.

China was ranked last on the U.S. NGO Freedom House’s annual report. China has landed last on the list for freedom of press for three consecutive years. The report pointed to internet censorship activity that is targeted at ethnic minorities, the media and regular citizens of the country.

In recent months, China has been reinforcing internet censorship by introducing new cyber policies that make it more difficult for foreign tech firms to operate in the country. In September, The New York Times reported the country blocked the WhatsApp messaging app owned by Facebook. According to the report, China started blocking video chats and photo sharing on WhatsApp, but allowed texting until now.

“This is not the typical technical method in which the Chinese government censors something,” Nadim Kobeissi, an applied cryptographer at Symbolic Software, told the New York Times in an interview. He said his company’s automated monitors started detecting disruptions of WhatsApp in China during the month of September and that cyber regulation efforts have been widespread as of Sept. 25. Facebook declined to comment to the New York Times.


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