Ahead Of Communist Party Meet, China Blocks Whatsapp Whatsapp icon

Chinese authorities appear to have severely disrupted WhatsApp messenger in its latest step to tighten censorship as they prepare for a major Communist Party Congress next month. Users in China have reported widespread disruptions in recent days to the Facebook-owned service, which had previously malfunctioned in the country over the summer.

Text messaging, voice calls and video calls appeared to be working again today (26 September), though voice messages and photos were not going through.

WhatsApp provides message encryption technology that likely does not please Chinese authorities, which closely monitor and restrict cyberspace through their "Great Firewall". China has tightened online policing this year, enacting new rules that require tech companies to store user data inside the country as well as restrictions on what is permissible content.

Websites such as Facebook, Twitter and a slew of foreign media have been blocked for years.

The WhatsApp troubles emerged ahead of the Communist Party Congress to be held on 18 October, when President Xi Jinping is expected to be given a second five-year term as the party's general secretary. China usually steps up surveillance around major events.
While the WeChat messaging app owned by China's Tencent company is more widely used in the country, many WhatsApp users complained about the disruptions. Some noted that it would make it difficult to work with clients abroad.

"Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Viber were blocked before. Now even WhatsApp is blocked? Without good messaging tools, it will reduce the efficiency of the foreign trade industry," wrote one person on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media website.

"I can live without the others (applications), but blocking WhatsApp is driving me crazy," said another.

WhatsApp declined to comment. PTI

An Appeal...

Dear Reader,

As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.

Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.

We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.

Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.

Become A Patron
Become A Subscriber
Advertisement