Sunday 3/7/21
INTERNET BLOCKING

Chinese censors block Clubhouse social network over critical chats

Clubhouse was blocked after intense debate took place on the platform over political issues such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China.
FILED - A user of the Clubhouse social media app shows her smartphone with the logo of the audio application. The new social media app Clubhouse will in future also be able to run on smartphones with the Google Android operating system. Photo: Christoph Dernbach / dpa
A user of the Clubhouse social media app shows her smartphone with the logo of the audio application. Photo: Christoph Dernbach/dpa.

Chinese censors have blocked the popular social network Clubhouse after discussions critical of Beijing took place on the audio chatting app.

Users in China are no longer able to connect to the platform, Great Fire confirmed Tuesday. The organization tracks Chinese internet blocking.

Clubhouse was blocked after intense debate took place on the platform over political issues considered thorny by Beijing - such as Hong Kong, Taiwan and the persecution of Uighur Muslims in China.

The Global Times, a Communist Party newspaper, also made clear that the app was a thorn in the side of Chinese opinion monitors.

Clubhouse is not a "free speech heaven," the paper wrote on Monday.

Social media including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well Google and many foreign media websites are blocked in China.

Chinese platforms such as Weibo and Wechat are heavily censored.

Increasingly popular

Clubhouse has not been available in the Chinese Apple Store since October, but the app still became increasingly popular.

Chinese users circumvented the barriers by using foreign Apple IDs to download Clubhouse.

After the ban, which appeared to come into force on Monday evening, there were reports that invitation codes sent to Chinese phone numbers could no longer be received.

Users can only take part in Clubhouse discussions by invitation.

These can however be bought online for around 300 Yuan (46 dollars).

Observers expressed fears that many users in China had registered with their Chinese mobile numbers, which are linked to their identification numbers.

Chinese state security could use those numbers to find those involved in discussions on thorny topics.

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