China Bans Troublemaking Weibo Users as Google Removes Censorship Warning

The new leadership comes with tougher censorship, though many hoped otherwise

By Lucian Parfeni on January 4th, 2013 14:13 GMT

China's "Great Firewall" has been around for years and the Chinese have learned to live with it, or go around it if they really want to. It's a fact of life in China, one that affects more and more people as they go online for the first time.

With more people accustomed to using the web and China itself becoming a more modern communist state, you'd think that censorship would at least stay the same, if not decrease in time.

But that's not the case; in fact, quite the opposite is happening. The new Chinese leaders that got appointed a couple of months ago for the next decade, while younger, seem even more keen on censoring the internet. Maybe that's precisely because they're younger.

China already toughened up its internet laws and has started enforcing a rule that has been in effect for a couple of years, the requirement to use real names when signing up for internet services.

Now, a number of prominent weibo users have been banned, bloggers, activists and others have had their accounts suspended. Weibo, a form of microblogging similar to Twitter but with elements of a more traditional social network as well, is incredibly popular in China.

It's also one of the places where people are freer to express themselves, which is why China has been moving to tighten its grip on these services.

Meanwhile, Google has removed the notification it provided to Chinese users when searching for sensitive terms.

Previously, Google warned users that searching for those terms might result in having their internet connection cut off temporarily.

The feature is no longer available and neither is a help article explaining how it works, indicating that this was a deliberate move by Google and not a bug or the government interfering.
China is even tougher on internet censorship
   China is even tougher on internet censorship
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