Afrique Ameriques Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
China 17 March 2004

Censorship stepped up to target blogging

The Chinese authorities have stepped up Internet censorship to include blogging, closing two sites hosting blogs - personal pages where Internet-users post their own comments on the news.

Reporters Without Borders expressed its anger at this escalation of Internet censorship that coincides with the opening of the 60th session of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, at which China has a seat but without respecting its international commitments.

The site was closed on 11 March "until further notice" for allowing a letter to be posted that was critical of the government. It was the turn of to be shut down on 14 March.

"After closing websites and discussion forums, the Chinese authorities are now targeting blogs, one of the last outlets for expression still open to Internet-users," said the international press freedom organisation. and allow Chinese Internet-users the chance to keep up a personal page without any technical knowledge. The sites are very popular, alone hosting more than 15,000 blogs that have now been made inaccessible.

In its determination to track down Internet dissidents, the government began by banning cybercafés, apart from those run by major groups approved by the government. After that they set their sights on discussion forums, closing sites such as Observatory and Media on Co-ordinators then set about blocking more messages and there was an upsurge in warnings.

From there it was the blocking of major international sites Deutsche Welle and the Wall Street Journal. These latest moves against bloggers top off the authorities’ efforts to strangle web use.

Blogs have mushroomed in the last five years, particularly in countries that crack down on free expression like China and Iran. They are a tool used more and more frequently by journalists and that also allow non professionals to express themselves on the web.

In this country
3 June - China
“Tank Man” photo displayed outside Chinese embassy in Paris on eve of Tiananmen Square massacre
2 June - China
All references to Tiananmen Square massacre closely censored for 20 years
12 May - China
Foreign reporters prevented from working in Sichuan a year after earthquake
24 April - China
Concern that detained Tibetan magazine editor is being tortured
25 March - China
Government blocks access to YouTube

in the annual report
China - Annual report 2008
China - Annual report 2007
China - Annual report 2006

4 May 2009 - Nepal
Mission report : A call to end violence and impunity
2 April 2009 - Pakistan
Fact-finding visit by Reporters Without Borders to Swat “valley of fear”
16 March 2009 - Afghanistan
Report of fact-finding mission : Press freedom in free-fall in run-up to presidential election

Asia archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives

Asia press releases
3 June - North Korea
Pyongyang judges asked to be lenient with two American journalists
3 June - Afghanistan
US forces arrest a journalist in Khost
2 June - China
Blocking of Twitter, YouTube, Flickr and Blogger deprives Chinese of Web 2.0
2 June - Sri Lanka
Press freedom activist badly beaten in Colombo, hospitalised
29 May - Sri Lanka
Journalists trying to cover fate of Tamils are threatened, obstructed