In mainland China, censorship of media outlets has created a difficult environment for overseas Chinese-language news outlets to exist in. This is due to the Chinese government’s alleged efforts to prevent people from accessing information that is not in line with the Communist Party’s rhetoric.
For any readers wanting to update themselves with the news in their native language, accessing Chinese-language news outlets is made difficult as they are blocked in China. This means article topics such as those that criticize the government, are not visible if accessed through Chinese internet providers as they are blocked.
Additionally, while international English-language websites such as the BBC aren’t frequently blocked, their content is often filtered, meaning that even websites that are considered to be reputable sources of news can have their content amended to suit government opinions and ideals.
The scope of content that is censored and filtered has been wide-spread in recent years as the Chinese government has introduced a system for regulating and censoring media of all kinds. This includes shutting down social media accounts, blogs, and websites that discuss topics contradictory to the party’s values.
In 2017, a directive known as China’s ‘Internet Administration Regulations’, was issued with the purpose of creating a unified standard of internet governance, leading to more stringent control of websites and platforms. This is believed to have been accompanied by a rise in the number of blocked Chinese-language news outlets.
In 2018 UNESCO stated that press freedom in China remained “highly restricted” and that censorship of digital platforms had “intensified”. They cited the internet administration regulations, which requires news content to be “evident, timely, true, accurate, complete and impartial” – with definitions of these concepts that are closely based on Chinese Communist Party rhetoric.
As such, the varying degrees of censorship of media outlets in China has created a challenging environment for overseas Chinese-language news outlets. As they are blocked, readers are unable to stay up-to-date with news in their native language and are instead forced to look towards Chinese-controlled websites, or those in other languages, for accurate and true information regarding the country.
While international English language websites such as the BBC are often available to view, these can also be filtered at times, making it difficult to guarantee that the information presented is sincere and unbiased. It is clear, then, that if Chinese-language readers are to access true, accurate, and impartial information regarding China, they must look away from their native language and take some risks on censored websites.