Chinese authorities appeared to be blocking WhatsApp messages, BBC reportedly confirms that it also includes voice messages and images sent to individuals containing sensitive information are also being blocked. Earlier Chinese authorities focused censorship on the messages that were sent to a large group of people, which seems to be shifting now.
Chinese authorities are putting control mechanism on WhatsApp just like their Chinese Wechat, according to Verge, “This partial block of the Facebook-owned messaging app could mean an eventual full ban of the app in China.”
Verge also highlights two important matters in this regard, first; the 19th Chinese Communist Party event which is scheduled in fall, Chinese authorities seems to be cracking down more severely just before the event, so everything looks good on the TV.
Secondly, WeChat is the native business and the most popular option in China which could be affected by the presence of WhatsApp as an option which offers more freedom. Chinese businesses could be benefitted with the full censorship of apps like WhatsApp.
Telegraph UK, has also reported blocking of WhatsApp messages in China since yesterday, they have collected several tweets from Chinese users to show the concerns among them.
Chinese censors first started blocking messages containing Liu Xiaobo image between users, However, those messages were blocked on WeChat. A researchers group in the University of Toronto claimed that they have tested WeChat registered with Chinese numbers to send messages to other numbers. They concluded that the messages were blocked contained Liu Xiaobo name or image, according to ZDnet.
China has announced blocking all VPNs in the country a week ago, Chinese Reuters later claimed that the news based on VPN blocking was not correct, Chinese authorities will only block unauthorized VPNs which raises questions on the ambiguity of the statement by Chinese authority. The statement does not clearly state what is authorized in their eyes and what is not.