Clubhouse, an audio chat app where millions of users have joined to discuss numerous topics, was censored in China. The app, backed by Silicon Valley, was used by Chinese citizens to openly touch on sensitive topics without censorship by the Communist Party of China (CPC) until February 8, 2021.
Hong Kong, Taiwan and Xinjiang were the main topics discussed on the app, which connects users from all over the world. Bloomberg reported that since Friday, chat rooms have been opened where CCP victims have been sharing their experiences.
The app, which for now only works on Apple devices, is accessed through codes sent by invitation. Financial Times reported that Chinese users pay up to 77 dollars to obtain these codes. On Monday, February 8th, Twitter users reported that the application was blocked for Chinese internet users.
Clubhouse appeared on the news spectrum just as Australian journalist Cheng Lei was formally arrested for “carrying out criminal activities that endanger China’s national security” for criticizing Xi Jinping’s regime. The CCP has tightened measures against its citizens by restricting freedom of the press and information.
Cheng Lei, a Chinese state television presenter, wrote a series of criticisms on Facebook of leader Jinping and Beijing’s approach to the coronavirus outbreak.
Clubhouse shows that China is not as the Communist Party shows it to be
The CCP has deployed propaganda intended to show that things in China are on the right track. Economic growth coupled with control of the coronavirus (COVID-19) has helped Beijing to strengthen its foreign policy.
However, inside China, the CCP has had to step up efforts to curb citizen discontent. From the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020, “netizens” sought explanations from the government and highlighted the mismanagement of the issue, but were quickly censored, according to the press.
The death of Dr. Li Wenliang, the Wuhan doctor who was reprimanded by the Chinese regime when he “tried to warn his colleagues that a new pathogen was circulating,” aroused strong citizen support that forced Beijing to revoke sanctions and pay posthumous tribute to him for reporting the virus.
The Chinese government censored the information in the press and on social media due to discontent over harsh confinements in the country in the early 2020s. Human rights violations reported by netizens who later disappeared were also subject to public scrutiny.
China has shown images of parties and a citizenry immune to the consequences of the pandemic. However, the regime had to tighten legislation to keep its citizenry subdued.
The national security law, in force since January 2020, and the education guidelines to impose Chinese nationalism from kindergarten, seemed to be desperate moves by the Communist regime to control citizens.
CCP censorship has forced Chinese citizens to migrate to other countries in search of freedom. Faced with this, the Xi regime decided to build walls to contain a possible exodus of its inhabitants.
Vietnamese citizens and authorities reported to the press the arrival of workers in search of opportunities in local and foreign companies established in the Southeast Asian country.
Clubhouse and the pressure on China
The topics handled in Clubhouse’s discussion rooms reflect the interest of citizens from free countries to send messages of freedom to China. The application allows citizens from anywhere to interact, ensuring security and preventing censorship, the media said.
Messages are automatically deleted while protecting the identity of those who use it. This has allowed Chinese users to learn about sensitive issues being addressed in free countries.
Currently, the parliaments of the United Kingdom and Japan are receiving the voices of the Uyghur victims repressed by China, after a boost by former President Donald Trump. The measures taken by the states towards China will be discussed in this application.
The attitude of Japanese, Taiwanese, European and American citizens in discussing such issues in Clubhouse reflects the stances their governments are taking in the face of the threat posed by the CCP.
Clubhouse is grounding political and military discussions from going to the citizenry. The tone of the conversations is also noteworthy. “People expressed their views politely and did not resort to nasty online bickering like you see on other social networks.”
“Discussions in Mandarin focused on comparing the political systems of China and Taiwan, with many Chinese participants expressing sympathy for the island and voicing concerns about the Chinese Communist Party.”Finantial Times
Since Xi Jinping came to power in 2012 Chinese citizens have been subjected to the CCP’s censorship powers with greater force. Clubhouse joins Western apps such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube that are blocked by the Chinese regime.