On Sunday, ABC joined the long list of international media censored in China. This website, ABC.es, has been blocked after publishing two articles over the weekend. One of two was a long profile of president Xi Jinping published on Sunday, and the other one was
a report on Peng Shuai, the tennis player, and other celebrities who temporarily disappeared after falling out with the regime.
Before that, any reader in China could easily access this website. Currently, when the ABC.es site loads, a message appears saying that the page was not found because «the server on which it is located does not respond.»
To access this website in China and avoid the blockage of the so-called «Great Cyber Wall,» it is necessary to use a VPN (a virtual private network) and a paid connection to an Internet server abroad. This is how the Communist Party controls politically sensitive content on the internet.
With this new censorship, ABC becomes the latest international outlet banned by China, along with the ‘The New York Times,’ ‘The Washington Post,’ ‘The Wall Street Journal,’ ‘The Guardian,’ ‘The Economist,’ ‘The Independent,’ the BBC, ‘Der Spiegel,’ ‘Bild,’ ‘Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’… InSpain ‘El País’ and ‘El Confidencial’ are blocked. Any reader in China can read the rest of the main Spanish newspapers without censorship.
ABC has not received any official communication stating a reason for the decision. But the timing indicates that it was due to those two articles published over the weekend.
The first feature, «Anyone can disappear in China,» told the story of the tennis player Peng Shuai and other celebrities who temporarily disappeared in the past because they stood up to the regime: Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba; acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei; actress Fan Bingbing; and even the former head of Interpol, Meng Hongwei.
Thia disappearances are allowed by law in China for at least six months, and regime officials are not required to notify the courts, lawyers, or relatives of the detentions. These affect not only dissidents and social activists but virtually everyone in China.
On Sunday, ABC published a Xi Jinping profile within a series titled «Communist dictators of the 21st century». The headlkine of the piece was: «Xi Jinping, the red emperor.» Xi has been the most authoritarian and influential leader in China since Mao Zedong.