China removed 1 billion internet posts last year, in a so-called clean-up drive
Chinese censorship is infamous—it is the 7th most-censoring nation in the world, as per the Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. China’s net censorship—at least two campaigns were run by the Communist government last year alone, under the guise of protecting net users from porn, “disturbing content” and “harmful rumours”—has come under heavy criticism from many quarters; in fact, Google scaled down many of its services in the country after several run-ins with the government over the latter’s medieval censorship regime.
However, how massive the scale of net censorship in China is was revealed recently with state-owned media agency Xinhua reporting that in 2014, over 1 billion posts, 2,200 websites and blogs and over 20 million forums, chat-rooms and social media accounts were deleted in the latest clean-up operation. While 1 billion posts might hardly be a significant number, that too for a whole year, given millions of posts are made every second, independent researchers assert that the actual number of “vanished posts” could dwarf the published number. One study estimates that nearly 13% of all posts made in the Chinese cyberspace are “fully censored”. Given its Communist government frequently cracks down on criticism, and dissenters are often imprisoned under trumped up charges, China’s net “clean-up” is likely to continue unabated. More so, as the internet has been a powerful tool in the recent popular uprisings in the Arab nations that saw established regimes getting overthrown.