07/28/2022 China (International Christian Concern) – The Cyberspace Administration of China, which regulates online activity, recently announced that it would implement new social media restrictions starting in August.
Reasons for the new regulations include worries over the spread of economic information online that highlights the nation’s economic decline. These posts are being targeted to prevent possible social unrest.
The government is also inspecting China’s largest academic journal database, the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), to prevent the spread of information that could endanger the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The administration also stipulates that those who desire to spread economic, educational information, medical service, or law must now show proof of a professional certificate.
In the past, online posts containing sensitive content purposefully included grammatical errors and homonyms to avoid government surveillance. Under the new restrictions, however, the government will be able to monitor these posts as well.
The administration has revealed that it will also use a cross-platform system where a user’s social media account will be linked to all other accounts used. If a user is censored on one of these platforms, they risk denial of privileges across all platforms used.
The administration requires that service providers who “transfer users’ personal information…abroad…report to the government for security evaluation.” This regulation forces IT companies to spend more so that they can store data within Chinese borders.
These new regulations will be implemented approximately five months after the government imposed online restrictions on religious organizations. In March of this year, the government claimed that religious activities disrupted ”the normal order of religious affairs management,” which endangers “national security.” As a result, all religious organizations must be registered with the state to post online.
The implementation of these past restrictions has placed Christians at odds with the government. Recently, a Chinese Christian reported that the social media and messaging app, DingTalk, suspended her account multiple times, including once when she was denied user privileges for 28 days.
The new restrictions only further the government’s goal to control the spread of information that opposes the CCP’s ideology. As seen in the past, increased monitoring of social media accounts will result in a heavy crackdown by the government, pressuring civilians to obey the state’s restrictions.
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