January 29, 2023
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

Shanghai Is Rewriting Chinese Censorship Amid Lockdown


After blocking the “Voices of April” video, users re-uploaded it in a way they had hoped to avoid sensor detection. The video was reversed, the audio was linked to various images, and people posted fake movie posters that included a QR code linked to the clip.

Hundreds of people have shared the video via a distributed, peer-to-peer Internet protocol, interplanetary file system, talking anonymously to avoid problems, according to an investor and entrepreneur living in a wealthy suburb of Xintiandi in central Shanghai. Authority. Files saved using IPFS are cut and shared by different machines and communications are encrypted, so it is very difficult for the authorities to remove or block the content.

Despite being overwhelmed at times, censors did not give up trying to contain horrific stories about lockdowns and anger at politicians or China’s zero-cue policy. Although the Chinese government imposes its own censorship, the country’s social media companies also have a group of moderators who remove content that the Chinese Communist Party considers illegal. Companies like Weibo have financial incentives to get this right. In December, Weibo was fined 3 million yuan ($ 470,000) for allowing unsolicited illegal content to slip through its net.

Shanghai investors say the most heinous posts, people committing suicide, for example, have been scrubbed by the country’s internet censors. He blamed Shanghai government officials for mismanaging the situation and believed that several people in his vicinity had died of starvation, although this was not reported anywhere. “I am amazed at how big the inconsistency of information is,” he said. “Even friends in other Chinese cities did not know the real situation in Shanghai,” he said.

Police are also contacting people who have re-posted critical content on international social media platforms, according to Ming Gao, who works at PR and lives in Shanghai’s central Jing’an District. When Gao saw some pictures circulating on Chinese social media that criticized his city’s cowardly tactics, he said he wanted more people to see them. So, on April 18, he re-posted Pictures on Twitter. They hang banners that can be seen on the leaves around Shanghai. One describes the people who died as a result of the government’s lockdown policy. Another simply reads, “People are dying.” Another one-page text showed when Chinese social media users stumbled upon a page deleted by censors: “Unable to see this content because it violates the rules.”

The next day, Gao said he received two phone calls from his local police station asking him to drop the post. He refused, and said he had not heard from her since.

Last month, more Chinese nationals tried to access information outside the Great Firewall, said Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld, an assistant professor at UCLA who runs a project that tracks people who access Twitter from within China. Users typically access Twitter, which has been banned inside China since 2009, using a virtual private network that routes Internet traffic through links encrypted on a computer outside of China. In April 2022, 41 percent, or just over 23,000 people, visited Twitter, evading Internet control from Shanghai, he said. “They started following pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and Taiwan, and they also started following Chinese-language foreign news accounts. The Wall Street Journal China, BBC China, New York Times Asia“Steinart-Threlekld talks about those who are trying to avoid restrictions.


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