By Raymond Zhong, Paul Mozur and Aaron Krolik, The New York Times, and Jeff Kao, ProPublica
In the early hours of Feb. 7, China’s powerful internet censors experienced an unfamiliar and deeply unsettling sensation. They felt they were losing control...
The United States and other countries have for months accused China of trying to hide the extent of the outbreak in its early stages. It may never be clear whether a freer flow of information from China would have prevented the outbreak from morphing into a raging global health calamity. But the documents indicate that Chinese officials tried to steer the narrative not only to prevent panic and debunk damaging falsehoods domestically...
“China has a politically weaponized system of censorship; it is refined, organized, coordinated and supported by the state’s resources,” said Xiao Qiang, a research scientist at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, and the founder of China Digital Times. “It’s not just for deleting something. They also have a powerful apparatus to construct a narrative and aim it at any target with huge scale.”
“This is a huge thing,” he added. “No other country has that.”
Xiao Qiang is a Research Scientist at the School of Information and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, a bi-lingual China news website.