On 18th of October the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has started and is said to last one week, ending the congress meeting on 24th of October.

by Jolie Lenkewicz

A new leadership will be elected and while there will be major changes, it is known for certain that Xi Jinping will continue being the General Secretary and will be the one who will lead the country for another 5 years.

While the censorship and strict control in China for its Internet users are nothing new, during the meeting, the Great Firewall of China has increased its hold, all in the hopes of minimizing dissent on the Internet.

The Chinese government strictly monitors its Internet users so that it could track those who might share a different political opinion or criticize the current government, not to mention those who could reach out to certain institutions.

Major messaging apps like WhatsApp were said to be blocked to restrict users from easily sharing any kind of information. The censorship is not only to set fear in the hearts of casual Internet users but to get ahold of political activists and to repress and control both those in the current political party, and those outside of it.

This way, the government hopes that it will help to discipline political figures to act accordingly.

While China has been raising the levels of Internet monitoring in the recent months, the peak of it is obviously during the Communist Party meeting. Interestingly, the VPN blockage has further increased but with it – the need for the virtual private network services as well, as the Chinese Internet users as well as expats try to overcome the government restrictions and access the free Internet.

Some major VPNs have stopped working, some have bounced back after some time, but others have overcome the blockage and are working as well as before. The Chinese government was already blocking all major VPN domains, but various workarounds helped to access them even during the Internet lockdown.

Many activists as well as foreign businesses are waiting for the meeting to end in the hopes of being able to carry on without major disruptions and financial loses, as a lot of foreign websites, social media and more were blocked during the congress meeting, restricting access to certain goods and services. It is thought that the Internet censorship with let loose a bit as Xi Jinping will solidify his rule for another 5 years, but it is uncertain if the control will not increase in turn.

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