by WorldTribune Staff, January 9, 2018
China reinforced its Great Firewall in 2017, shutting down 128,000 web sites and deleting some 4.55 million online posts, state media reported on Jan. 9.
According to the Global Times, the offending sites and posts were considered “obscene” or “harmful” by the Chinese government’s national office for the fight against pornography and “illegal publications.”
China claims it received as many as 121,000 reports of undesirable online content from the public in 2017, adding that more than 900 criminal cases were investigated and 1,900 people received criminal penalties.
“One of the most worrying developments is the new cybersecurity law where companies have a greater onus to engage in censorship of their users,” said William Nee, China researcher at Amnesty International.
China has for the last three years been considered the worst abuser of Internet freedom, according to a study by Freedom House.
The United States, Japan, South Africa and France were the top countries for Internet freedom, the study said.
Iran, Pakistan and Russia joined China at the bottom of the rankings.
The Freedom House study also found:
- 63 percent of Internet users live in countries where political, social and religious posts can lead to arrests.
- 62 percent live in countries where individuals have been attacked or killed for online activities.
- 52 percent are residents of countries where social media or messaging apps were blocked in the past year.
- 47 percent live in countries where online discussion of LGBT issues are repressed or punished.
- 43 percent reside in countries where mobile access was disconnected by governments for political reasons.
- 42 percent live in countries where armies of ‘opinion shapers’ are employed to spread government views and counter critics on social media.