New Delhi: Days after India shut down internet in some states in the aftermath of the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, Chinese state media has labelled the move as “normal practice” for sovereign countries to justify internet censorship.
People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper, wrote in an editorial Tuesday that India’s action in Assam and Meghalaya meant “shutting down the internet in a state of emergency should be standard practice for sovereign countries”.
It added, “The internet shutdown in India has once again proved that the necessary regulation of the internet is a reasonable choice of sovereign countries based on national interests, and a natural extension of national sovereignty in cyberspace.”
China is known for poor internet freedom. In 2019, the Chinese government was identified as the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom for the fourth consecutive year.
The People’s Daily editorial said India has the world’s second largest internet market with more than 650 million users — 32 million of them in Assam and Meghalaya alone.
“It did not hesitate to shut down the internet in these two states when there is a significant threat to national security,” the editorial said.
The English daily compared India’s move to the internet ban in China’s Xinjiang region, which was met by criticism from European and American media.
“When China’s Xinjiang region faced a similar national security threat a few years ago, the Chinese government responded with a similar strategy. However, it attracted sharp criticism from mainstream media in Europe and the US,” it said.
The editorial also said shutting down accounts and conducting extensive surveillance in response to national security concerns has become a routine operation in the US.
The comments have come after internet service were suspended in Assam and Meghalaya in the wake of ongoing protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Other parts of India have also faced internet suspension in the last few days.
The Modi government is already under fire for continued internet suspension in the Kashmir region of Jammu and Kashmir for over four months now. The move had come after the government scrapped Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state.
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