The Chinese government is all about censorship, and this time, they are being effective at silencing coronavirus critics in the United States. As Chinese tech companies have gone global, so has China’s ability to censor information outside of the mainland.
China is well-known for Communism and the censorship of non-government approved ideas. When those who think they have power over the thoughts and ideas of others begin to silence, you know oppression is clearly a reality.
VICE News spoke to dozens of WeChat users in the U.S. and Canada, as well as some users in the U.K., France, Spain, Australia, Germany, and Malaysia, who reported identical problems with their accounts as they tried to share information with their family and friends in China.
The restrictions will prevent international users from sending any information to contacts in China. In some cases, they have also had their accounts suspended or blocked completely and accused of “spreading malicious rumors.” In many cases, the censorship means their only communication link to people inside China has been cut off completely, according to a report by VICE News.
If someone attempts to get information that is not approved by the Chinese government to people living under the tyranny there, they will likely be silenced, if not punished.
WeChat is a unit of Tencent, one of China’s largest tech companies, which also happens to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Now users in the U.S. are calling for Congress to intervene to preserve their freedom of speech, however, free speech is all but dead in the U.S. too. And the politicians claiming authority over the rest of us are unlikely to do much if anything about it.
“Tencent is the evil helper of a totalitarian government that suppresses freedom of speech and democracy,” one WeChat user who lives in Philadelphia and wanted to remain anonymous due to fears of retribution, told VICE News.
“They delete or block your posts if they think it promotes democracy and challenges the government. It violates my civil rights as a U.S. citizen. I came to the U.S. for freedom. I thought I escaped from the threat of the Communist Party. But I’m wrong, I still live in terror because Tencent is monitoring my WeChat and may report me to the Chinese authorities.”
Things aren’t much better in the U.S. where companies like Facebook, Google, and YouTube delete or censor information that isn’t government-approved. In fact, the World Health Organization and Google have been working together to censor coronavirus information.
Tencent did not respond to specific questions about its censorship of international users but sent an emailed statement saying it was “committed to providing a secure and open platform” for all its users.