China arrests bloggers ahead of introducing new regulations to crush free speech online

Chinese censorship
China arrests bloggers for insulting People's Liberation Army(PLA) soldiers

China has detained popular blogger Qiu Ziming over social media posts that according to the authorities degraded military losses in the Galwan Valley clash with India. Another person with the surname Chen was picked up after posting comments on a WeChat group about the PLA soldiers. The arrests come at a time when the country is set to further tighten grips on all online content. Also Read: Clubhouse – A sanctuary for liberal and progressive voices in China

Broad view: China is all set to tighten its grip on online content. The Cyberspace Administration of China all set to publish new rules that will require bloggers to acquire state permits in order to publish content on certain topics, including politics, health, economics, education and judicial matters. Also Read: US-China relations: Joe Biden sets his sight on new and more confident China

The Chinese government has been giving permits since 2017 to users who wanted to cover topics such as politics and military affairs, according to The Associated Press. Also Read: Myanmar edges closer to Putin’s Russia to avoid frenemy China

What does it mean: The arrest of bloggers and new rules mean that only Chinese state media and its official propaganda accounts will get the Chinese Communist Party’s approval. Also Read: Protest Videos: Demonstrations continue in Myanmar, UN voices strong concerns over use of force by military against protesters

  • With the new set of restrictive guidelines, President Xi Jinping is all set to control and squeeze an already slim space for discourse.
  • Many more authoritarian countries can also take a leaf out of China’s manual and implement similar regulations to control voices to curb online freedom.
  • Weibo CEO Wang Gaofei has reportedly said that analysis of news published by official media was allowed but commentators could not “release news” themselves

What’re they saying: “The regulators want to control the entire procedure of information production,” said Titus Chen, an expert in Chinese social media policy at National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan.

A statement posted by the Cyberspace Administration said that the policy revision is meant “to standardize and steer public accounts and information service platforms to be more self-aware in keeping the correct direction of public opinion.”

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