This week, China banned over 100 apps and services, including Douban, a platform where users share their opinion on music, movies, and books (think IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic).
Beijing appears to have banned the platform for hosting opinions critical of the government.
Douban has been the subject of controversy multiple times, because of users who are not afraid to share their criticisms of movies, songs, or books with patriotic themes.
There have been multiple cases of censorship, and recently Beijing has been closely monitoring the app for allowing fandom communities. There was a recent crackdown on fandom communities on social media platforms in China, with the government banning the idolizing of stars and fundraising for them.
Last week, Douban was fined for supposedly sharing user data. This week, the app was removed from both the App Store and Play Store, after a direct order from Beijing.
The government ordered the removal of more than one hundred apps and services for various reasons. It claimed that all the removed apps had refused to rectify the problems that led to their banning.
The banning of Douban resulted in the Chinese government being accused of censoring a source of criticism and dissent.
Over the past week, during the 2021 Summit for Democracy, China has been trying to argue that its system of government is more democratic than the West. By China’s definition, internet censorship through the Great Firewall, mass surveillance, a social credit system, and state-controlled media are the principles of democracy.