Dr. Ai Fen states that the authorities repressed her in December when trying to warn about the virus. Some journalists think that networks like Ethereum are an alternative to mitigate censorship.
Sarah Zheng is part of the team at the South China Morning Post, the main English-language newspaper in China. The Chinese journalist posted on Twitter that she is making an effort, along with some Internet users in that country, to preserve a censored interview on the Ethereum blockchain. That is the case of Dr. Ai Fen, who the authorities ignored after she issued an alert about the coronavirus.
Zheng includes screenshots that describe how they secured the document on the Ethereum network, whilst they encrypted some excerpts through QR codes. Other efforts have allowed saving the interview in PDF format and even in Morse code, aiming to continue its dissemination, even after the Communist Party of China censored the article.
The March issue of the medium Renwu includes the interview with Dr. Ai Fen, which the authorities removed from WeChat, the Chinese WhatsApp-like messaging system. Zheng said that the measure prevents people from sharing the document about the early alert about the virus through the social networks, according to the English-language medium form Singapore The Straits Times.
In the Ethereum-protected interview, Dr. Ai Fen states that she was subject to severe repression after trying to warn about the results of a patient’s tests, in which she observed signs of the “Sars coronavirus.” Even though she shared the data with colleagues and urged them to take precautions to fight the virus, the authorities subsequently sanctioned her for “spreading rumors” and “damaging stability.”
Even Dr. Li Wenliang sent early warnings about the seriousness of the disease and denounced the conditions in which doctors have to work in that country. However, she was also a victim of retaliation from the authorities, which caused the population to call for political reform and freedom of expression.
Blockchain to Mitigate Censorship
Journalists and citizens had found on Chinese social networks a new space to post truthful information on cases of corruption by officials. The solution had become an alternative as they did not need to undergo official controls.
However, the Chinese government has recently launched a new censorship campaign to “combat rumors on the Internet.” This has led to the imprisonment of some people accused of spreading them, as well as to the closure of websites.
Under Xi Jinping’s presidency, critical journalists and reporters have virtually disappeared, whilst the authorities harass and imprison dozens of them. The Chinese press is full of optimistic portraits of life under Xi, which his detractors call the “era of total censorship.”
The blockchain ecosystem has proven to be useful in many aspects of everyday life. For instance, the technology served in 2018 for the MeToo campaign to overcome the Chinese government’s censorship on a sexual abuse case.
Chinese students were demanding justice in the case, but their messages started to disappear from social networks. For that reason, they decided to conduct a transaction on the Ethereum network and thus hung an open letter about Gao Yan’s case.
In that way, they discovered that, as with the case of Dr. Ai Fen’s alert about the coronavirus, there was an alternative to criticize the Chinese government’s censorship.
By Alexander Salazar