China : websites and social media shutdown for ‘unlawful activities’

Chinese police announced they had shut down over 1,000 social media accounts and 30 websites over ‘unlawful activities’. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly condemns this latest crackdown in China against free speech and freedom of expression in the online space.

According to Xinhua and Reuters Chinese Police announced on Saturday, December 8, that some social media accounts on Tencent’s Wechat and Sina-owned Weibo fabricated accusations against companies and individuals, with the “excuses” of “media monitoring”, “legal monitoring” and “social monitoring”.  These accounts then posted negative information online and demanded a ransom in exchange for deleting the posts.  The police investigated 28 cases involving paid online trolls or ghostwriters hired to post online content and arrested 67 suspects.

Reuters also pointed out that in November, 9,800 social media accounts were shut down by China’s Cyber Security Authority for posting content deemed vulgar, sensational or politically harmful. 

The IFJ said, “The arbitrary crackdown of free speech and freedom of expression online in China continues, with the government any means or excuse to validate the crackdown. These actions are a serious threat to freedom of expression and speech in China and violate China’s constitution.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on [email protected]

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

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