Chinese authorities can force social media platforms to review user comments and censor comments deemed “harmful” before they are published.
On June 17, the country’s internet watchdog, Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), published a concept update (opens in new tab) to its 2017 legislation that regulates the country’s censorship machine. Platforms’ content moderation teams must filter out illegal content and report it to authorities.
Comments of all kinds are targeted, from original posts and replies to real-time comments about video streaming – so-called ‘bullet chats’. In addition, for the first time, the creator of a post is held responsible for other people who comment on it.
The new guidelines have raised concerns about further censorship in a country that already has the world’s strictest rules. The use of security tools, such as the best Chinese VPN, is widespread among internet users who want to get around these strict regulations.
While the new guidelines have yet to be implemented, fears of further restricting people’s freedom of expression remain. Plus, if the South China Morning Post states: (opens in new tab)design regulations in the country are usually adopted without major revisions.
The State of Censorship in China
The Great Firewall of China is already infamous for what? Freedom House described (opens in new tab) as “the world’s most restrictive media environments and the most sophisticated system of censorship, especially online”.
Access to all western social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube has been blocked for quite some time. This also applies to other services such as Google, Wikipedia, Netflix and major foreign newspapers such as the BBC, the New York Times and Reuters.
In addition, keyword filtering algorithms are already being used to censor controversial political content on Chinese platforms such as WeChat and Weibo. This is why internet users need to be creative and find innovative ways to distribute their messages.
However, this does not always go as planned. The latest case came earlier this month when a famous Chinese influencer abruptly cut his internet connection while on the air. As Insider reported (opens in new tab)Li Jiaqi promoted a military tank-shaped ice cream cone commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen massacre.
How a VPN can help
A VPN is a security tool that aims to protect users’ data, their privacy and anonymity. Short for virtual private network, they also allow you to bypass strong internet restrictions.
How? Every time you connect to the software, you have to choose one of the available servers – the best VPN services offer a wide range of fast and secure locations around the world. Your real IP address is hidden so that your ISP is tricked into thinking you are in a different country depending on where your chosen server is located.
The Chinese authorities have strictly regulated VPN use while working hard to find new and effective VPN blocking tactics. Therefore, choose your security service carefully. For example, VPN services that implement obfuscation technology are less vulnerable to such attacks. Before making your choice, check out our update guide to the best working VPNs for China.