The social media WeChat account of Radio Veritas Asia’s Mandarin service has been shut down by Chinese authorities, said a Catholic priest who works in the Church-run organization.
The account was reportedly closed on May 10.
The priest who asked not to be named for reasons of security told LiCAS.news that “for a long time” Chinese authorities “have been paying attention to our social media.”
He said the media organization’s WeChat account has been influential in Chinese-speaking churches overseas.
“We made various attempts and wrote to WeChat hoping to recover our account, but WeChat told us that our account violated relevant Chinese religious laws and regulations,” said the priest.
He said the social company said the account will not be recovered and is “permanently closed.”
The priest said the social media account’s influence and the huge number of followers overseas might be the reason for the closure.
Chinese authorities have been deleting online Christian content in recent weeks for alleged violations of “rules” set by the government.
Christians in China reported that they had a difficult time uploading videos and religious posts on the Internet during the Holy Week and on Easter.
On April 14, several people received notifications that music with “sensitive” religious themes would be removed.
Several Christian sites containing “sensitive” words have reportedly been blacked out, including Gospel Times, Gospel TV, Gospel League, WeDevote Bible, and Old Gospel .
Users have received warnings that the site or account “violates” rules for internet users and “has been removed.”
The landing pages of “Gospel League” and “Life Quarterly” show a message that reads: “[We] received report that [this account] violates the ‘Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Provisions’ and its account has been blocked and suspended.”
Bible Apps have been removed from App Store in China, while Bibles in hard copy are not available for sale online. Those who want to download Bible Apps have to use VPN to circumvent the Firewall.
On May 8, China’s internet regulator announced that it has deleted more than two million posts containing “harmful” discussion of history.
“We have lawfully dealt with a large number of [social media] accounts that disseminated historical nihilism,” said Wen Youhua, director at the Cybersecurity Administration of China.
“[We] have urged various websites to delete more than two million posts that violated laws or regulations,” he said during a press conference in Beijing.
He said “some people have disseminated harmful information with historical nihilism on the internet, under the guise of reflection and declassification.”
“Historical nihilism” is a term coined by the Chinese government that refers to discussion or research that challenges its official version of history.
The deleted posts reportedly “polluted” the online environment.