China and Russia to Sign Agreement to Censor National Internet

The Associated Press
AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

Russia’s state communications regulator announced on Tuesday that China and Russia will sign an agreement to cooperate in further censoring internet access for their citizens.

The regulator, “Roskomnadzor,” said it would formally sign the international treaty with their Chinese counterpart, the “Cyberspace Administration of China,” on October 20. That date is the first day of China’s three-day “World Internet Conference,” to be held this year in the city of Wuzhen, in eastern Zhejiang province.

China has approximately three times the number of online citizens as the United States, according to a South China Morning Post report, but their experience of the global network is vastly different behind what Wired magazine first called “The Great Firewall of China” in 1997. CNN calls the communist dictatorship’s ongoing efforts to block unwanted information “the world’s most sophisticated top-down censorship apparatus.”

Russia has been taking notes. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration has been using a similar strategy for years and continues to aggressively pursue complete control over his people’s access to information not approved by the Kremlin.

In March, Putin signed two bills into law that level fines against anyone who publishes what the government deems “fake news,” or shows “clear disrespect for society, the state, the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Russian Federation, and bodies exercising state power.”

Now the two superpowers are officially joining forces to reinforce their control. This is just the latest example of what Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov characterized as a “special relationship” between the nations sharing a 4,300KM border.

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