China blocks Instagram to stop spread of pro-democracy protest images

Image via crashonline.de

The nation of China is no stranger to internet censorship; in addition to the infamous Great Firewall of China, which has claimed numerous victims over the years -- most recently the privacy-oriented search engine DuckDuckGo -- the country has also repeatedly cracked down on the free dissemination of information at opportune times.

This time around, photo sharing site Instagram has reportedly been blocked across the mainland in another opportune strike likely intended to prevent the spread of images from Hong Kong's recent wave of pro-democracy protests.

The block was first reported by Greatfire.org, an independent anti-censorship blog, at 3:00 AM China Standard Time on September 28. All of Instagram's IP addresses are currently down, and anyone attempting to access the site in China receives an error page.

The block on Instagram comes during the largest day for protests, with nearly 60,000 citizens from Hong Kong taking to the streets and protesting in favor of what they call "full democracy," a concept which likely doesn't include the censorship of internet sites.

Instagram apparently isn't blocked in Hong Kong, but the territory resides in a special administrative region, which gives it a complex relationship with the Chinese government that sometimes prevents certain policies -- like internet censorship -- from happening within its borders.

China has also come under flak in recent months for cracking down on internet rumors and arresting bloggers who spread gossip online, also in response to events that could be considered weakening to national security -- which shows that the country isn't afraid to exercise judicial force towards the internet and its denizens.

Source: Greatfire.org via Engadget

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