China intensifies censorship in response to ‘zero-COVID’ protests, leaked directives show

Chinese authorities are intensifying their censorship in response to the latest protests in opposition to the state’s draconian “zero-COVID” insurance policies, ushering in the very best “emergency response” stage, in accordance to leaked directives.

Two directives from the Cyberspace Administration of China and one from native authorities authorities, despatched to totally different Chinese platforms, have been leaked to a Chinese dissident Twitter account after which translated by the China Digital Times. The directives show the behind-the-scenes determination to order the intensification of censorship because of latest protests, together with the shut administration of public relations. Authorities notified that they have been ramping up their efforts to crack down on the flexibility of the general public to circumvent the “Great Firewall of China,” largely by means of using digital non-public networks.

Policemen pin down and arrest a protester throughout a protest on a road in Shanghai, China, on Nov. 27, 2022. Authorities eased anti-virus guidelines in scattered areas however affirmed China’s extreme “zero-COVID” technique Monday after crowds demanded President Xi Jinping resign.

(AP Photo)


“Yesterday, Minister [Niu Yibing, the deputy director of the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission] held a National Cyberspace Administration System administration coordination videoconference. Based on the present scenario, it was deemed essential to provoke a Level I Internet Emergency Response, the very best stage of content material administration,” one of many directives learn. “Key managers ought to take a hands-on strategy, and strengthen content material administration. Given the latest high-profile occasions in numerous provinces, details about offline disturbances and backflows of abroad data should be quickly recognized, handled, and reported.”

It additionally warned of future dates that will outcome in a flashpoint in protests.

“Tomorrow, November 30, marks one week because the deaths that occurred on November 24; December 9 is International Anti-Corruption Day; and December 10 is International Human Rights Day,” it learn. “Pay cautious consideration to these and different delicate dates, keep strict controls, and strengthen preliminary content material audits.”

Another directive provides directions on how to assist crack down on the flexibility of Chinese residents to circumvent web censorship by means of VPNs and comparable software program.

“First, e-commerce platforms ought to proceed their concerted efforts to clear up on-line gross sales of products and providers used to circumvent the Firewall. These embody Firewall-circumvention routers, VPNs, net accelerators, VPS [virtual private servers], abroad Apple accounts, and so on.,” learn the directive. “Second, completely examine, clear up and take away all unlawful Firewall-circumvention software program or instruments from app shops and file-hosting providers.”

The directive additionally urged platforms to crack down on the flexibility to analysis methods in which to circumvent web controls.

“Someone affiliated with the Cyberspace Administration of China submitted this. In the close to future, instruments for bypassing the Great Firewall (GFW) will likely be extra strictly regulated. Also, be alert to some key dates developing,” it learn.


The directives got after latest protests in opposition to China’s “zero-COVID” legal guidelines which have strained the financial system and the nation’s city populace. The demonstrations have been the most important public expressions of dissent because the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

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