Clubhouse became a space to have uncensored discussions on politically charged issues, and other sensitive topics for users in mainland China. But, on Monday, the app was blocked in the country, according to multiple media reports. Greatfire.org, which monitors internet censorship in China, confirmed the development.
The ban came after users started discussing issues such as China-Taiwan relations, China’s treatment of the Uyghur Muslims, and democracy in Hong Kong, per reports. However, starting Monday evening, users started seeing a red error box within the app saying “a secure connection to the server cannot be made.”
Multiple people across China reporting Clubhouse now blocked. It was nice while it lasted. A brief glimpse at the world as it would be if the CCP allowed Chinese to speak online unfettered. What a world it would be. A diversity of perspectives, a chance for understanding. Alas… pic.twitter.com/kmdjDqwwOf
— Paul Mozur 孟建國 (@paulmozur) February 8, 2021
Clubhouse, which allows users to create rooms and have conversations in audio-only mode, joins a list of high-profile internet services such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter that are blocked for people in mainland China. To be sure, these services can still be accessed by using VPNs, however, even that carries a certain amount of risk. Only VPNs authorised by China’s Communist Party are allowed for use, and the rest remain illegal, as per a CNN report.
Last year, Apple had removed podcast client Pocket Casts from its App Store in China following a request from the Cyberspace Administration of China. Before that, Apple had removed another podcast app called Castro Podcasts from the App Store in China.