That’s how many internet accounts were shut down by Chinese authorities in the two months of April and May this year alone. Not only accounts, but also posts have been deleted on a massive scale: 1.41 million.
Caught red-handed, “solo media operators” have even had to meet with authorities: the China Internet Administration (CAS) says it has conducted “wetan” (scheduled interviews) with 2,089 solo media operators, a type of “warning” that doesn’t involve a meeting.
The atmosphere of personal social media censorship in China is growing in intensity by the day.
Economists’ and influencers’ SNSs are also ‘mace’
Recently, news broke on Baidu and elsewhere. The Weibo (SNS) account of Wu Xiaobo, a former Xinhua journalist who became a prominent economist, has disappeared. His most recent posts from April 2022 have disappeared, and he has been suspended from posting new ones.
Wu Xiaobo has been a favorite among young Chinese for his outspokenness and detailed commentary on the economy.
Chinese netizens have speculated that the social network’s sanctions were triggered by a previous post.
The account strongly criticized the Chinese government, stating that “China’s real estate policies are not working” and that “tens of trillions of yuan in house prices have evaporated in the past three years.
In addition to the Weibo account, two other social media accounts that focused on Chinese economic news were also sanctioned.
The Weibo company cited as the reason for the sanctions that these economic-related SNSs “spread negative information about stock market developments, distorted unemployment rates, and denied Chinese government policies.
Chinese influencers, or “wanghongs,” have not escaped the authorities’ blade either: an influencer with over four million subscribers on the Chinese version of TikTok, “Douyin,” was shut down altogether.
The reason given was that it was monetized by posting explicit videos and photos, including live broadcasts. This account and 22 other similarly large influencer accounts were shut down.
■Even “outsourced censorship” to censor for you….
Companies are even more worried about being targeted for censorship by the Chinese authorities. If they do, they may have to shut down their business.
In July of last year, the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, Renmin Daily, launched a content pre-censorship service called Renmin Sunjiao (People’s Correction). This year, it upgraded the service and released Renmin Sunjiao 3.0.
According to a promotional article written by Renmin Daily at the launch of the service, it “comprehensively analyzes the textual content and
It identifies key characters, dangerous characters, and sensitive words that may appear in the video and suggests appropriate modifications.
In addition, it explains that based on the AI machine review, a secondary review is conducted by experts in content risk to minimize the risk of political content.
Based on the accumulated experience of Renmin Daily, it filters out content that contains dangerous content such as ideology, religion, purged officials, dissidents, and maps related to territorial dispute areas in line with the standards of Chinese government authorities and suggests amendments.
The annual fee isn’t much – about $8 million to $18 million in our money – but as more public institutions and companies look to avoid political risk, the service has grown to 200 customers and 3 million content reviews since its launch through March of this year, according to the company’s website, Runmin Daily.
“The market for content censorship in China has been growing in recent years,” the South China Morning Post (SCMP) wrote, noting that “Runmin Daily, which is best at identifying the vague ‘standards’ of the Chinese authorities, has begun to sell its expertise.”
As the market for censorship has grown, state-run Xinhua and big tech companies Alibaba and Tencent have also gotten into the business of pre-censorship.
Xi Jinping says “Party control of the Internet must be maintained”
This wind of private social media censorship is likely to intensify in the future. This is because Chinese President Xi Jinping has personally ordered the country to strengthen cybersecurity.
On April 15, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered that “the party’s management of the Internet must be upheld.” “Internet business has become increasingly important in the new era,” Chinese state-run CCTV reported Xi as saying, “We must prevent risks and ensure safety.”
Shortly after Xi’s directive, at the National Internet Safety and Informatization Work Conference, Cai Qi, secretary of the Standing Committee, told attendees that they should “strengthen positive ‘propaganda’ and ‘guidance’ on the Internet and prevent ideological dangers.”
On the same day, the China Internet Information Society (CAS) announced that it had taken action against 373 accounts for violating laws and regulations: some internet accounts were falsifying and distorting public policy information to mislead the public.
President Xi Jinping’s directive, a meeting on the internet, 먹튀검증 and a ministry disciplining social media accounts all happened in the space of a day or two.
China’s recently revised “Anti-Espionage Law” also includes the collection and transmission of data related to national interests as a new category of espionage. It remains to be seen what kind of Internet jailing policy will be implemented in the future.