Internet freedom in China has always been horrendous, but now it’s officially considered to be the worst in the world, according to the most recent Freedom on the Net study from Freedom House. The American organization ranked China above Iran and Syria in terms of Internet freedom last year, but now the country has fallen to dead last after a year of constant censorship and efforts to crack down on any kind of anti-government content or news that puts China in a bad light, as well as invasive Internet laws.
This has been an eventful year for internet freedom (or lack thereof) in China. The latest Freedom on the Net study from American NGO Freedom House was published today, showing that China – which ranked third from last in 2014 – has now sunk so far it can’t sink any lower. In last year’s report, China was bested by Iran and Syria. For 2015, however, those two nations are now tied for second-to-last, and China has pushed its way to the back of the bus. It’s worth mentioning that North Korea is not included in Freedom House’s survey, as there was not enough access to the country. But it would, presumably, be the only country to rank below China. China is home to innovative, exciting companies like Xiaomi, Baidu, and Alibaba. With all the hype around Chinese internet firms – from the web giants to the smallest startups – it’s easy to forget how uniquely bad the situation is for internet freedom in the country. “It’s just China,” is the common refrain each time another website is blocked, blogger arrested, or faulty security certificate slipped into people’s web browsers. But that doesn’t really give the nation’s censors enough credit: through their hard work and determination, they’ve managed to out-rank Cuba, Vietnam, Russia, and Libya to become literally the worst place for internet freedom in the world.
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