China Cracks Down on Social Networking Sites

Politically sensitive material blocked after day of protests fizzles
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 22, 2011 3:35 AM CST
China Cracks Down on Social Networking Sites
Police officers stand in front of a Shanghai cinema where protesters had been urged to gather.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

(Newser) – The Chinese government has stepped up censorship of the Internet following a failed effort to use social networking sites to kickstart a North African-style "Jasmine Revolution." Facebook and Twitter are banned in China but the Chinese equivalents have been flourishing. Government censors, however, moved swiftly to block all online references to the planned protests and some websites had their search functions completely yanked over the weekend, the Wall Street Journal reports.

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A senior Chinese official says the government wasn't worried by Hillary Clinton's speech last week in which she said authoritarian regimes were facing a "dictator's dilemma" on how to prevent the Internet from being used against them. "We're not afraid," the official told reporters. "We don't have anything to worry about, but we have to prevent people from using the Internet to damage or destroy social stability." (Read more social media stories.)

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