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Lies, collusion and disappearing images: in China, digital censorship is getting sneakier

Heavier restrictions are becoming the norm in Xi Jinping’s China

By Yuan Ren   February 2018

A Chinese couple's faces are blurred out as they walk down a Beijing street.

I reply to my friend: “What are you talking about?” We are on WeChat, China’s most popular social media platform, a kind of Facebook-Whats-App hybrid. A message I had received referred to “the above photo.” There was no photo.

My friend responds with a screenshot from his phone—and there it is, the missing picture. It had seemingly been plucked out, somewhere en route. But there was no error message. This is the new age of Chinese online censorship: automated…

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