China increases censorship as Tiananmen Square anniversary approaches

4 Jun 2014

Both Google and LinkedIn have reported that access to their sites and services have been blocked in China as the single-party state gets anxious ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square anti-government protests.

The state has always been wary of the influence of the world’s largest internet corporations – largely based in the United States – and now wants to make sure that these websites will not spread news surrounding the anniversary of when thousands of Chinese citizens gathered in the Beijing square to protest against the government in 1989 and its authoritarian policies.

For years, censorship on the internet has been on the government’s agenda with the Tiananmen Square incident famously removed from the Chinese version of Google when a person searches for the term.

According to the Wall Street Journal, LinkedIn’s senior spokesperson for the region, Roger Pua, has said that the American business networking site’s understood that a Chinese version of the site would have to under-go some level of censorship: “We are strongly in support of freedom of expression. But…it’s clear to us that in order to create value for our members in China and around the world, we will need to implement the Chinese government’s restrictions on content, when and to the extent required.”

However, LinkedIn user and head of consulting firm China Market Research Group Shaun Rein has said that some of his posts would need to be approved by third-party moderators: “I’ve been backing up my contacts because I’m worried they’ll block me and I won’t be able to reach anyone.”

Tiananmen Square image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic