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Beijing Blocks Clubhouse App to Stop ‘Political’ Conversations

On Monday night, Clubhouse, the red-hot app where people can create chatrooms that disappear after use, became inaccessible in China, presumably blocked by the authorities. Many had expected this to happen, but some were still surprised by how fast…
Logos of social media platforms including Clubhouse, center, are seen on an iPhone 12.
News

15-Year-Old Joins over 1,000 Children at Risk of Covid-19 in Detention Centers

Bangladesh authorities on Saturday arrested a 15-year-old for “defaming” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed in a Facebook post. It was an especially egregious move in a wave of arbitrary arrests targeting critics of the ruling party with the harsh and…
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets with officials in Tokyo, May 29, 2019.
News

But Little Action Holding Beijing Accountable

“His wife wore veils.” “He has one more child than allowed by the family planning policy.” “He prayed after each meal.” These are some of the reasons people in Karakax County in Xinjiang, northwestern China, are being detained in “political…
Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a political education camp in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang.
News

Abrar Fahad’s Brutal Murder Highlights Impunity for Abuses

On October 6, Abrar Fahad, 21, was summoned from his dorm room at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) to Room 2011, known among students as the “torture cell.” The room is run by members of the Chhatra League…
Bangladesh Student Union stage a torch light procession rally to protest the murder of Abrar Fahad, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), who was allegedly beaten to death by Bangladesh Chhatra League men.
News

Congress Should Press Sundar Pichai Over Project Dragonfly

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will be in the hot seat tomorrow when he testifies before the United States House Judiciary Committee following an outcry over its plans to re-enter the Chinese search market. A coalition of more than…
News

Authorities Digitally Erase Even Past Critical Speech

Since early November, the Chinese government has been targeting Twitter users in China as part of a nationwide crackdown on social media – even though Twitter is blocked in the country. Authorities have detained or summoned dozens or…
201811freespeech_internet_twitter
News

Chongqing’s Ban on Circumvention Tools Could Set Dangerous Precedent

Chinese “netizens” are known for nimbly “scaling the Great Firewall” to get around government barriers that prevent them from accessing certain information abroad. Their interests are surprisingly diverse: Some look for news critical of the Chinese…
President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the 2nd annual World Internet Conference in Jiaxing, China on December 16, 2015.
News

Government Asks Facebook to Play a Direct Role

It is a challenge for governments to manage the onslaught of social media that can incite public violence. But too often, a state crackdown is aimed more at silencing critics than maintaining public order. This is certainly the case in Bangladesh.…
Screenshot of the "Moja Losss?" Facebook page.
News

How China’s Censorship Undermines its Own Goal

Within hours of the February 14 knife attack in Pishan county, Xinjiang, China’s state media released identical reports: Three assailants attacked people in a residential district, killing five while injuring another five, and the assailants were killed…
Han Chinese residents hold a Chinese national flag as paramilitary policemen in riot gear block a road at the centre of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region September 3, 2009.
News

Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
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This week, a court in Angola found 17 activists guilty of preparing a rebellion against the government and sentenced them to between two and eight years in prison. The hefty terms shocked many Angolans, reminding them once again that rights to free speech…
Some of the 17 activists who have been sentenced to jail terms of between two and eight years, after prosecutors introduced a new charge of “criminal conspiracy," Angola, 2015.
News
We know China’s President Xi Jinping loves pork buns and loves his wife, Peng Liyuan – state media has widely distributed images of him queuing to buy buns at a Beijing diner, and allowed the song “Xi Dada Loves Peng Mama” to go viral. So when a Shanghai…
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Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…