A report released by Freedom House on Internet freedom has listed China dead last out of all nations surveyed.
The report, which rates freedom from a scale of 1 (free) to 100 (not free), gave China a score of 88, ranking it below Iraq and Syria and every other country surveyed. Last year, China had came in third from last place.
It is important to note that a number of nations were not included in the survey, such as North Korea, which would have certainly ranked lower than China.
This finding comes amid renewed efforts by the CCP to reign in dissent, both in cyberspace and out on the street.
Xinhua reported on Wednesday on a new law that gives Chinese courts the ability to jail individuals convicted of creating and spreading “false information” online for up to seven years.
Tech In Asia lists some notable examples of cyberspace restrictions, including a government push for real-name registration online; the adoption of a new cyber-weapon, the “Great Cannon,” that was used to crash GitHub in April; a new anti-terrorism law that requires telecom and internet service providers to provide the government backdoor access and encryption keys; and a case in which a government agency was found to be distributing forged digital security certificates for websites, which could have been used as a means to deliver malware to users.
More recently, reports have surfaced that the Chinese government is looking into ways to harness “big data” to rank an online user’s trustworthiness, and have indicated that authorities may use such a system to punish users accused of “trust-breaking.”
Of course, this being China, these events have taken place in a nation that routinely blocks access to politically unsavory websites and censors sensitive online posts.
The Hong Kong Free Press reports that the Global Times has removed references to China in its report about Freedom House’s new findings. The party mouthpiece’s Facebook page also happily celebrated gaining its 1 millionth fan yesterday.
By Stanley Yu
[Images via Freedom House // HKFP]