China syndromeChina makes Skype illegal

Published 4 January 2011

China announced that it had made illegal the use of Skype, the popular internet telephony service, as the country continues to shut itself off from the rest of the world

In the latest move dashing Western Internet company hopes of breaking into China, it was announced that all Internet phone calls were to be banned apart from those made over two state-owned networks, China Unicom and China Telecom.

[This] is expected to make services like Skype unavailable in the country,” reported the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are already blocked in China and Google closed down its Chinese servers last year after heavy government pressure.

Last Thursday, Wang Chen, the deputy head of the Chinese Propaganda department, said: “By November … 350 million pieces of harmful information, including text, pictures and videos, had been deleted [from the Chinese Internet].”

Some Chinese users of Twitter, the micro-blogging Web site, claimed they could already no longer download Skype, but the service appeared to be working normally in Shanghai.