The Chinese Government has blocked access to WhatsApp for its Citizens. WhatsApp censorship comes ahead of next months 19th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party. A digital and cyberspace policy analyst, Adam Segal, recently told CNN that internet restrictions have always been seen in China before the run-up of the National Party Congress meeting. The Chinese government runs an internet firewall called "The Great Firewall Of China" which it uses to censor content it perceives harmful. Users that have subscribed to international data plans and are using foreign sim cards have not experienced any disruptions.

Examples of U.S. internet companies that have been locked out of the Chinese market include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Google. People have, however, accessed these sites through virtual private networks (VPNs). The Chinese government strongly dislikes encrypted apps like WhatsApp according to Timothy Heath, a defense research analyst.

WeChat now sharing data with the government

Favourite Chinese messaging app WeChat, recently announced that it would begin sharing private data of its customers with the Chinese government. WeChat has over 660 million customers and is the leading messaging app in China. WeChat recently updated its privacy policy and informed its customs that it would share significant amounts of customer data with the Chinese government, for it to comply with Chinese government laws and regulations.

According to Technode, data to be surrendered to the Chinese government include names, phone numbers, email addresses, credit card info, IDs, locations and user chat log data.

Internet censorship in China

According to the BBC, censorship in China is implemented by the Communist Party of China for political reasons to maintain control over its people.

Political analysts have always suggested that China is censoring foreign websites so that it can grow its e-commerce industry. According to the BBC, Chinese companies such as Alibaba and Baidu have benefited due to the locking out of big foreign rivals.

China also began a crackdown on the use of VPNs in July this year. The Chinese government noted that its citizens are using VPNs to bypass "The Great Firewall of China." It also ordered three big telecoms in the country to begin blocking access to VPNs beginning next year. Chinese regulators defended critics after banning VPNs and said that "it is cleaning and standardizing internet access in China."