LinkedIn blocks some Chinese critics, including staff from The Epoch Times, on the eve of the Tiananmen Square Incident

LinkedIn is trying to censor some Chinese critics, including the staff of The Epoch Times, to eliminate its presence in China.

On the morning of June 3, many people within the Epoch Times network received notices warning of the decision, including some staff based in the United States, Sweden and Turkey.

The message, titled “Official Message from LinkedIn Members’ Safety and Recovery,” began by thanking users for “expressing themselves professionally using their LinkedIn profile.”

“Due to legal requirements affecting accessibility in China for some publishing organizations, activities such as your profile and items shared on the network are currently visible to users accessing LinkedIn from within China. No. ” He added that his profile and activity “will continue to appear in other parts of the world where LinkedIn is available.”

The exact number of people affected by the Epoch Times network remains unknown.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, in a statement to the Epoch Times, states that the company “is a global platform that is obliged to respect the laws that apply to us and regulates China’s localized version of LinkedIn. Including. “

“Due to legal requirements in China, the profiles and activities of some LinkedIn members associated with a particular publisher are not currently published in China,” the company said.

LinkedIn message
An edited LinkedIn message received by an Epoch Times employee on June 3, 2021. (Screenshot via LinkedIn)

Two days ago, LinkedIn took similar steps against Chinese critic J. Michael Cole. In a more elaborate version of a similar message, they suggested working with Cole to “minimize the impact” and “update the public section of the profile to review the accessibility of the profile in China. You can do it. “

The blockade took place on the eve of the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Incident. This bloody crackdown has fired on activists seeking democratic and economic reforms in China, killing hundreds, if not thousands, by the Chinese government.

The Epoch Times is one of a variety of international sites that remain inaccessible to users within the Great Firewall, an online censorship machine that allows governments to exclude unwanted voices.

This publication has been at the forefront of topics related to China, such as the CCP’s invasion of the west, human rights abuses, the deprivation of prisoners of conscience in China, and the outbreak of the CCP virus in Wuhan.

LinkedIn, which launched a Simplified Chinese site in 2014, is one of the few western social media platforms still allowed in mainland China by agreeing to China’s restrictions. Currently, it has 53 million people in mainland China. I have a user.

LinkedIn didn’t answer questions about the reasons behind that decision or the specific local requirements mentioned. It also does not mention whether it has similar agreements with other countries.Instead, the company announced February 24, 2014. statement LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner justified the company’s expansion into China.

“LinkedIn strongly supports freedom of expression and is fundamentally opposed to government censorship,” Weiner said. “Individual Chinese have an economic opportunity if LinkedIn doesn’t exist in China.” They decided to obey national censorship rules because of their limited ability to pursue and realize. ”Dreams, and their most important rights. “

“Freedom of expression and opposition to censorship are incompatible with Chinese regulations,” said Benjamin Weingarten, a fellow at the Claremont Institute, a California think tank, and a contributor to The Epoch Times, receiving a LinkedIn message. T.

“China’s regulation, the rule of the Chinese Communist Party, will ultimately suppress economic opportunities, erase dreams, and violate Chinese rights,” he said.

Focusing on the timing of LinkedIn actions, Weingarten Said It was “unbelievable, but completely believable.”

“The subject was censored on Chinese social media the night before the Tiananmen Square Incident and was airbrushed out of Chinese textbooks, but it’s clear that the West has taken all the wrong lessons,” he emailed Epoch Times. Told.

“The explanation of the CCP leadership at the time was that they believed that our selfish interests in doing business with China would lead us to a different perspective in the face of the oppression of the administration. Shows. Upset entertainers, censored platforms, and kowtow companies unfortunately prove it right, “he writes.

Over the years, LinkedIn has been enthusiastic about many censorship moves. Post About the Tiananmen Square Incident Protest leader, And more recently Chinese criticAccount after removing his comment, which called Beijing a “repressive dictatorship.”

On March 9, LinkedIn “temporarily” stopped Chinese users from registering new accounts in China. Quote Unspecified Chinese law.

Company promotion policy Also, “Critique of the Chinese Communist Party, the People’s Republic of China, or the PLA, [Chinese] National Anthem, a virtual private network (a tool that allows users to circumvent censorship), or a promotion related to satellite services.

“Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has blamed the pressure imposed by the Chinese government on social platforms such as LinkedIn,” said Cedric Alviani, East Asian bureau chief of Reporters Without Borders. [to] Contribute to censorship campaigns. “

The RSF ranked China 177th out of 180 on the freedom of the press in 2021. indexCalled it “the world’s largest guard for press freedom.”

“It’s true that if Chinese connect with people around the world on a platform that focuses on learning and sharing, it’s true that everyone can make a big profit, but LinkedIn doesn’t,” he said. According to the pen name Charles Smith, co-founder of the censorship group

“LinkedIn is a detoxified, harmonious, uninteresting job board. The platform’s final focus is on freedom of expression,” he said. “Microsoft is afraid to speak up and is difficult. Avoid asking questions and reward users who avoid sensitive issues. “

The Epoch Times asked Microsoft for comment, but didn’t respond immediately.