PRC nationals are now unable to read articles by the Singapore Chinese newspaper, Lianhe Zaobao, due to a possible blanket ban by Chinese authorities, who might be feeling jittery after the paper carried reports that made the PRC government uncomfortable.
The outage of access for Chinese netizens started began on 18 July 2017, although no official reasons were given for the ban.
Lianhe Zaobao is Singapore’s biggest Chinese newspaper and has a large reader base in China. It reports regularly on news in China, and a recent report covered Liu Xiaobo’s death on 13 July. Liu was a Chinese literary critic, writer, poet, human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who called for political reforms and was involved in campaigns to end Communist single-party rule.
This is not the first time Lianhe Zaobao was banned in China. It was previously blocked in 2009 for unknown reasons.
It is also not the only newspaper to be blocked by the Chinese government. The Chinese language site of The Financial Times has also been blocked.
Netizens in China have cited numerous reasons for the ban, with some stating that the paper might have been banned because of reports on the purging of Sun Zhengcai, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China who was formerly tipped to succeed Xi Jinping. He fell victim to a Chongqing corruption inquiry.
Chinese news portal Shanghaiist speculates that the websites may become accessible again “as China continues to fine-tune its ‘online sovereignty’.”
Foreign websites are a tricky business in China, with many netizens complaining of non-access or intermittent accessibility throughout various parts of China.