Beijing: A social media app in China, which gave a platform to people to discuss political topics such as ongoing human rights abuse against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, has been blocked.
According to a report by CNN, Clubhouse appeared to have been blocked in China just days after the social media app became the go-to app for uncensored conversations on a host of sensitive issues banned on other platforms.
During the weekend, several large Chinese-language chat rooms were set up on the invite-only audio app, where the people talked about politically sensational topics such as the ongoing crackdown against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, democracy in Hong Kong, and even the sovereignty of Taiwan.
However, the app was blocked on Monday night and a red error message appeared showing “a secure connection to the server cannot be made”.
On Tuesday, the hashtag “Clubhouse” was also censored on Chinese social media platform Weibo, where it had been trending, CNN reported.
Meanwhile, the users of the social media app have said that they will continue to join the Clubhouse chats on sensitive topics via a virtual private network (VPN), which uses encryption to disguise internet traffic.
“It is too rare an opportunity. Everyone has lived under the Great Firewall for so long, but on this platform, we can talk about anything,” said Susan Liang, a 31-year-old from Shenzhen.
“It’s like someone drowning, and can finally breathe in a large gulp of air,” she added.
While the app first became popular in China among tech industry circles, its political chat rooms quickly drew newcomers eager for release from the tight censorship at home, CNN highlighted.
While some chat rooms are dedicated to discussing topics on Taiwan, there are also chat rooms on China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
In one popular room titled “Xinjiang has a concentration camp?” on Sunday, overseas Uyghur activists told stories of loved ones disappeared into the camps, which the US State Department estimates that as many as 2 million people could have passed through since 2017, according to CNN.