Ridiculous as it sounds, LinkedIn has most likely been blocked because of postings related to the “Jasmine Revolution” which (barely) took place in 13 cities across China over the weekend.
According to BusinessWeek, the culprit behind LinkedIn’s block is a user named “Jasmine Z”:
On Feb. 23, Jasmine Z set up the “Jasmine Voice” discussion group to post opinions on the pro-democracy protests currently spreading through the Middle East.
“After years of independent thinking, I am becoming a critical dissent dying for democracy, freedom and justice in my homeland,” Jasmine Z wrote in the first of three posts.
A second post said China’s Communist Party members fail to “realize the crisis of the autocratic one-party system” and a third post referred to the party as “a power and elite club.”
Uh. Thanks, Jasmine Z!
A quick search by Shanghaiist indicates that the postings mentioned by BusinessWeek may have been deleted by LinkedIn (!!!). But a new group, also called “Jasmine Voice”, has been set up in its place, by a user named “Jasmine J”. Apart from the group owner, the group doesn’t seem to have attracted any other users, and no discussions can be seen within the group.
It was not too long ago that Facebook and Twitter were blocked because of Tibet- and Xinjiang-related posts. But while the Net Nanny’s latest move seems a bit excessive, it sure does point to a government that will not leave anything to chance when it comes to potential people power movements.
Censorship is here to stay in China, and the only people smiling today are the VPN companies.
UPDATE: Looks like LinkedIn has been unblocked after barely a day!