News24

China blocks unrest news from Egypt

2011-01-31 08:28

Beijing - Chinese censors are apparently blocking online discussion of unrest in Egypt and sanitising news reports about it in a sign of official unease that the uprising could fuel calls for reform at home.

Keyword searches on the unrest returned no results on Monday on micro-blogs and the reader comment function on news reports about Egypt was disabled on major portals as China's pervasive censorship apparatus swung into full gear.

News coverage of the protests against the 30-year rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was limited to sparse accounts of the unrest that largely glossed over the underlying political factors and calls for democracy.

The coverage tended to emphasise the scenes of lawlessness in Cairo and the need to restore order. The main midday news on Monday did not include footage of the street protests, instead showing Mubarak meeting top officials.

China maintains a tight grip on its online and traditional media, actively blocking content seen as a potential challenge to the ruling legitimacy of the Communist Party.

Curbs

China's leaders have faced mounting public discontent in recent years over a range of political hot-button issues including persistent reports of abusive government officials, dangerous environmental damage and now surging inflation.

China suppressed violent ethnic uprisings in Tibet and the mainly Muslim Xinjiang region of north-western China in 2008 and 2009, while the Nobel Peace Prize won by dissident writer Liu Xiaobo in October also rattled Beijing.

Beijing's reaction to the Egypt situation recalls similar curbs put in place during the so-called "colour revolutions" in Eastern Europe a decade ago.

Stamping out such content has become more difficult, however, with the explosive growth of Twitter-like micro-blogging services.

China blocked Twitter in 2009 - after barring other high-profile foreign internet services such as YouTube and Facebook - after authorities said social-networking services were being used to fan the Xinjiang violence.

However, several Chinese clones have since filled the void and drawn an enthusiastic following from the country's huge population of web users, the world's largest at 457 million.

Users have seized on the platform as a new avenue for mass expression in a tightly controlled media landscape, but controversial issues are still often blocked, either directly by the government or by providers hoping to avoid trouble from authorities.

Comments
  • maloya - 2011-01-31 09:10

    And we think we have problems!!!! I suppose its all relative...

  • robertgunning - 2011-01-31 09:33

    Living in ignorance is ignorant.

  • pointblankza - 2011-01-31 10:48

    Deat Chinese Government, The paranoia will destroy ya...

  • rodneykdc - 2011-01-31 11:11

    Governments the world over love nothing more than an unquestioning mass of ignorant humanity to vote them in time after time. Makes for easy money!!!!

  • polymath86 - 2011-01-31 11:12

    The world is slowly starting to wake up from the dilusions which have been cast upon us and so readily accepted.

  • Parko - 2011-01-31 11:31

    China is pathetic. I don't care how rich they are now. And by the way, all those idiots supporting China Mall and Dragon City ( all these Chinese Malls popping up ) - you are stupid. Know why ? You are supporting a commie regime and of course this will lead to more imports and more factories closing down in SA.

  • kooster2 - 2011-01-31 12:21

    Communist China is our government's best friend, that is why we are moving closer to their type of governance. Beware who you vote for because these people will make more money off you and deliver less promises. At the end it will only be the government that carries the riches and we keep on paying taxes to support their fat bellies.

  • droplet - 2011-02-19 08:36

    LOL@eeverybody calling china a comunist state! they are about as capitalist as they come. they are about as communist as north korea is democratic?

      droplet - 2011-02-19 08:37

      oops - typos... *everybody *communist

  • raykhado - 2011-02-28 16:21

    Capitalism is now at its hihgest peak

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