China has issued a directive to parents to report police if their children are using encrypted messaging apps. Almost every social media platform is banned in China, and even China-owned TikTok is facing restrictions in the Western world and Australia.
This strict control over social media is a result of the Chinese government’s censorship policies and concerns about information control.
Additionally, TikTok has also faced challenges in India, where it was banned due to national security concerns related to data privacy and its Chinese ownership. Even in China, TikTok is only available in its Chinese version, Douyin.
The TikTok ban in the United States has made headlines in recent years, whereas China seeks to restrict encrypted western-owned platforms.
Concerns over content erasure
According to a statement from the authorities cited by state media, Chinese authorities claim that such apps reside in a “grey area” of legal supervision as they possess “the ability to erase content immediately after reading, which facilitates the destruction of criminal evidence.”
The statement highlights concerns about the potential “misuse” of these apps and the challenges they pose in terms of preserving valuable evidence.
The authorities emphasize the need for stricter regulations to ensure accountability and prevent the potential destruction of crucial information.
The local authorities have issued instructions to parents, urging them to bring their children to the nearest police station if they come across any messaging apps “to find out whether their children had engaged in a crime.”
The report emphasizes that “school and family education should play an important role in deterring juvenile crimes.”
The significance of parental involvement and educational institutions in preventing and addressing potential criminal activities among young individuals, stated the authorities.
Last autumn, messaging apps like Telegram played a crucial role in facilitating the organization of demonstrations.
Messaging apps played a dual role during the protests by facilitating coordination and preserving censored media.
Individuals used these platforms to save pictures and videos that faced swift deletion by censors, resulting in a constant battle with Chinese government surveillance and censorship.
The demonstrations, referred to as the “white paper” protests because participants held up blank sheets of paper, expressed their dissatisfaction with China’s strict zero-Covid policies and censorship.
These protests stood as the largest demonstrations since the historic Tiananmen Square protests in 1989, which ended tragically with the military resorting to the use of force against the demonstrators.
Example of totalitarian states hating encryption
In response to the news, one individual expressed a striking observation, stating, “It’s a strange twist on Mao’s Red Guard, who ratted on their parents to the commies; now we have parents ratting on their kids.”
The user conveyed a sense of resignation, stating, “Well, whatever works at pitching families, neighbors, and friends against each other.”
Another individual remarked, “The perfect example – why totalitarian states hate encryption.”