US website IP Video Market (IPVM), a Hawaii-based publication created in 2008 that focuses on the video surveillance industry worldwide, was blocked on Friday October 19 by the Chinese authorities without a notice or explanations. One possible reason could be reports last summer on Hikvision and Dahua, two Chinese technology companies supplying the Chinese government with surveillance tools to be deployed in Xinjiang province (north-west), where up to a million Muslims, mostly of the Uighur ethnicity, are reportedly being detained in re-education camps without trial.
“With the blockage of IPVM, China-based journalists lose a tool that allowed them to better know the surveillance equipment used by Beijing, and therefore protect themselves and their sources”, said Cédric Alviani, head of RSF’s East Asia bureau. “This is new proof of Beijing’s authoritarian escalation, based on the belief that blocking independent information would allow them to cover-up the abuses they commit.”
IPVM joins the long list of media blocked by the “Great Firewall of China”, that includes most press agencies and international media, collaborative encyclopedia Wikipedia, search engine Google and social media Facebook and Twitter.
China ranks 176th of 180 in the 2018 RSF World Press Freedom Index and counts over 60 journalists detained.