Clubhouse app offers Chinese rare glimpse of censor-free debate

Khabarhub

February 21, 2021

2 MIN READ

Clubhouse app offers Chinese rare glimpse of censor-free debate

Illustration by Ajay Mohanty.

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TAIWAN: Clubhouse, a US app erupted among China’s social-media users, with thousands joining discussions on subjects such as Taiwan and Xinjiang undisturbed by Beijing’s censors, Business Standard has reported.

It said, “Audio-based social app where users host informal conversations, Chinese-speaking communities from around the world gathered to discuss China-Taiwan relations and the prospects of unification, and to share their knowledge and experience of Beijing’s crackdown on Muslim Uighurs in the far west region of Xinjiang.”

As of Sunday, the Clubhouse was accessible in mainland China without needing a VPN — commonly used to bypass the Great Firewall and access foreign internet services from Gmail to Twitter, according to the report.

Clubhouse, backed by California-based venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, has skyrocketed in popularity after attracting high-profile users such as Elon Musk and Oprah Winfrey, Business Standard added.

Since Clubhouse so far is only accessible on Apple Inc.’s iPhone and users must have a non-Chinese Apple account, the app has only gained traction among a small cohort of educated citizens, the report said quoting Fang Kecheng, a communications professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

On Saturday, a significant number of the members of the Uighur ethnic community currently living overseas shared their experience of events in Xinjiang, where China has rolled out a widely criticized re-education program that saw an estimated 1 million people or more put into camps, the report said.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has agreed with the Trump administration’s move to call China’s actions “genocide.”

China has defended the policies, saying they are necessary to fight terrorism.

(With inputs from Business Standard)

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