The latest site to be banned in China is Pinterest, following the ban of Instagram, Snapchat and Picasa as well as Tumblr.
Great Firewall, the censorship watchdogs, will not allow users in the country to share any content or pin any images using Pinterest.
Pinterest is typically a site where users share photos connected with fashion, cooking, hairstyles, decor and several other topics.
The site has been available for users in China for several years now, but so far the Chinese censorship was not rattled by any of the content shared on the site.
However, Greatfire.org, a censorship watchdog monitoring censorship as well as the access of sites in the country, has confirmed that the block on Pinterest is effective from early March.
The censorship of Pinterest in China by the Great Firewall follows a pattern that China has set, whereby it blocks any foreign site that offers a competition or threat to its regional businesses.
A renowned professor in the Chinese Cultural UnivMedia
ersity of Taiwan, Cho-Wen Chu, has published a paper wherein he claims that the Chinese censorship is a tool that industrial policy makes use for eliminating foreign competition.
Even earlier, censorship and bans on Google, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube had enabled regional businesses such as Baidu, Youku, Renren, and Weibo to continue successfully.
The censorship of these sites along with the latest ban on Pinterest shows that China is using national security excuses to cover up the real reason, which is to favor domestic online businesses by removing fair global competition.
Politics or Protectionism
The censorship on Pinterest by China coincides with the yearly National People’s Congress.
This is a very sensitive period in Beijing, as the top leaders and delegates come together for setting the course of the country for the year, including political and economic policies.
However, Pinterest is not particularly known for its political content.
Banning the site seems to be more of a protectionist move by the censorship authorities.
Banning of the site will offer the local rival Faxian a better chance to survive.
More than 95% of the 731 million users of the internet in China access these sites through their smartphones, according to data from the Internet Network Center in China.
The site is popular among women who pin pictures on subjects such as food, travel, and fashion.
But it is also true that some users have public boards on politically sensitive issues like human rights, which might have rattled the censorship group.
It is well known that China is operating the most thorough censorship regime on the internet.
Many western media sites, like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have already been blocked, along with all versions of Google.
The netizens of the country are disappointed, devastated and disgruntled.
The site became popular in China in 2009 and that was the time when similar Chinese sites or clones, like Huaban and Meilishuo, started coming up.