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The website of the Spanish newspaper ABC, one of the main newspapers in the European country, was censored for 24 hours in China after it published a profile of President Xi Jinping and a report on the temporary disappearances of famous people.
The ABC correspondent in Asia since 2005, Pablo M. Díez, confirmed today to the EFE news agency that the digital edition of the newspaper, until now accessible, “since yesterday can not be opened” except by using a VPN application that circumvents censorship.
“We have not received any official notification but everything points to the fact that it is due to two articles published over the weekend,” explained the journalist in reference to two texts of his authorship: a profile of the Chinese ruler included in a series on communist dictators and a report on celebrities who temporarily disappeared after having problems with the Chinese government.
ABC joins the Spanish newspapers El País and El Confidencial, which also have access to their web pages blocked from inside China, as well as non-European media such as the American The New York Times and The Washington Post or the British The Guardian and BBC, among others.
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“Censorship is always sad and unfortunately in China we are seeing that it is becoming more and more frequent,” said the reporter, who last year received the Best Correspondent Award granted by the International Press Club of Spain for his career in Asia and his coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Asian country.
In his 17 years in the Asian giant, Díez regrets having seen “censorship and repression on the rise” in China, especially since the current president came to power. “And now it has been our turn,” added the journalist, for whom “continuing to report is the only thing left to us.”
Beyond that, Díez denounced the “increasingly hostile and aggressive climate” suffered by foreign journalists in China, as well as the harassment on social networks, where “they shout that our articles are lies but without saying exactly what those lies are that they complain about.”
In addition to numerous media outlets, the Chinese authorities also maintain blocked access to major Western social and communication networks, including the platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and the messaging app WhatsApp.