CCP encourages Chinese tech companies to increase online censorship

Notices were sent to several large companies, including Tencent Holdings and ByteDance Ltd., who own apps like TikTok and Douyin.

Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal QC
Chinese tech companies have been told to expand censorship of protests and to curb access to virtual private networks as the Chinese Communist Party continues to shut down protestors after nationwide demonstrations broke out across the country last week against the CCP and its Zero Covid policies.

They asked them to add more staff to their internet censorship teams and were told to pay more attention to protest-related content, and anything being shared about protests at universities and a highrise fire in Xinjiang that killed ten after residents were locked into their units by the CCP. The Cyberspace Administration of China and ByteDance didn’t respond to requests for comment from the Wall Street Journal. Tencent declined to comment.

The Cyberspace Administration of China issued guidance to companies on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reports. Notices were sent to several large companies, including Tencent Holdings and ByteDance Ltd., which own apps like TikTok and Douyin.

Chinese search engines, e-commerce companies, and internet content platforms were also instructed to conduct sweeps to delete postings and information on how to use virtual private networks (VPNs) and officials were asked to get companies to prevent searches for VPNs. 

VPNs have been used by protestors and those demonstrating to circulate videos and information.

Protestors have swarmed the streets of several major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, calling for an end to the murderous CCP's Zero-Covid policies. Protestors have been seen holding up blank, white pieces of paper as it is a crime to openly display anti-government slogans.

Police have since cracked down on the protests and have collected cellphone data to track down those participating in the demonstrations. Protests have been less active in recent days due to a heavy police response.

In response to the protests, some cities have started relaxing Covid measures. Beijing is allowing people who test positive to stay isolated at home rather than being relocated to a government quarantine center. The city will also stop its compulsory citywide testing. In Guangzhou, where videos showed large Covid protests, the city said it would drop citywide testing.

"Beijing has been gradually lifting lockdowns over the past few days," Hu Xijin reports. "Vice Premier Sun Chunlan on Wed formally noted the virus' weakening pathogenicity for the first time...China is speeding up to cast aside large-scale lockdowns." Officials in Zhengzhou, where Apple's Foxconn factory is located, announced an "orderly" return to business, opening supermarkets, gyms, and restaurants.

"The southwestern city of Chongqing will allow the close contacts of people with COVID-19, who fulfill certain conditions, to quarantine at home," Al-Jazeera reports. However, they also report that President Xi is unlikely to remove further restrictions, as Covid case counts are still reportedly at record levels.

The protests are the largest public display of anti-government behavior since the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989. The protests also come shortly after the coronation of Xi Jinping at the national congress, essentially making the president leader of the country for life.

Sympathy protests have sprung up across the globe, with many Chinese students on American campuses expressing their support for those in China seeking liberty and freedom from a Covid-inspired tyranny that is going into 4th year. 

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