Although China keeps internet users in the mainland under a strict and effective wall of censorship preventing them from accessing many foreign, mostly western sources of information, people still find a way around it.
Those who do and take an interest in US politics are learning about the latest developments around the presidential election, including allegations of election rigging on a scale that brings into question the legitimacy of the vote.
But now some Chinese users are discovering that when they wish to discuss these events and accusations of US election fraud on domestic social platforms, like the giant WeChat, they are getting censored.
A former low-ranking Chinese official is quoted as saying that the Chinese are interested in the US election process and allegations of fraud because elections in their own country are often effectively rigged, as they end up being no more than appointments in a one-party system ruled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
A WeChat user now spoke for Epoch on condition of anonymity to say that the platform banned him from some groups and limited access to some of his account's features, specifically one called Moments where users can post messages, photos, and videos.
The reason provided by WeChat, according to this user, is that he was involved in sharing posts “suspected of delivering vicious rumors or other illegitimate content.”
Another WeChat user, a former detainee in the Masanjia Women's Labor Camp, confirmed that Chinese internet users are engaging in what's said to be heated debates over the outcome of the US election. The woman, Liu Hua, also revealed that her account was blocked for sharing content about President Trump's campaign.
Liu was detained for two years, from 2010 until 2012, for exposing corruption among officials in her village. She was held in the labor camp that is said to be infamous for its treatment of detainees.
Liu's journey was documented in the film “Above the Ghosts' Heads: The Women of Masanjia Labor Camp,” and now this former victim of torture and sexual abuse at the camp wondered why the authorities are banning online discussions related to US elections and fraud, and spoke about why they were important:
“We mainland Chinese are particularly longing for freedoms and democracy, for our own votes, for our own human rights, to elect someone who really shares our values. Unfortunately, we have none of those rights; we are suffering. Forwarding those messages is all we can do,” she is quoted as saying.