China intensifies Internet censorship ahead of military parade

China is cracking down on online rumours, and targeting censorship circumvention tools

As China prepares to celebrate a new national holiday, the country has been tightening its grip over the Internet by squelching online rumours, and cracking down on tools that can circumvent its censorship.

On Sunday, China's Ministry of Public Security said it punished 197 people for allegedly spreading misinformation over local social media and messaging services.

The rumours covered controversial topics including the financial woes of the Shanghai stock market and the recent explosion in the Chinese city of Tianjin. One rumour, for instance, claimed that more than 1300 people had died in the blast at Tianjin, when the official toll puts the figure at over 140.

The suspects involved deliberately attempted to mislead the public and create panic, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The crackdown comes as the country is about to celebrate a new holiday on September 3, which will commemorate the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II. In Beijing, the government will be holding a large military parade.

China has a long history of censoring any content deemed offensive or controversial, especially when it relates to government affairs. This has involved blocking foreign websites such as Facebook and Twitter, in addition to arresting suspects involved in alleged rumour-mongering.

A year ago, China even began blocking access to all Google services, just days before the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, a topic considered taboo in the country.

Internet users can still circumvent China's censorship through special software tools, but lately, the government has also been trying to crack down on the coding that can run these services.

GoAgent and Shadowsocks, two of these tools, have been removed from GitHub, a software development platform popular among developers.

It's unclear why GoAgent was taken down. But as for Shadowsocks, the Chinese developer behind it was forced to delete the code from GitHub, following a visit from local police.

"I have no choice but to obey," the developer "clowwindy" said in a posting on GitHub, which was later deleted.

Shadowsocks was a popular censorship circumvention tool, according to GreatFire.org, an activist watchdog group that seeks to end China's Internet censorship. The tool was both free and open source, helping to make it widely used, GreatFire.org said in an email.

But even as the Shadowsocks code was deleted, other developers have made it available again, and posted it to GitHub.

A developer of the original Shadowsocks code was contacted, but declined to comment, except to say: "I believe people will take over this project and it will continue without me."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags internetShadowsockssecurity GitHubGoAgentChina censorship

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?