The more than 850 million internet users in the Middle Kingdom are barred from viewing the publicly available websites of 23% of 215 international news organizations with journalists based in the country. Among the outlets publishing in English, the most widely spoken foreign language in China, 31% are blocked.
The analysis was conducted by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) and GreatFire.org, a nonprofit advocacy group that monitors the status of websites censored in China.
“Many of the most important sources of global and national news are not accessible in China,” the FCCC said in a statement this week. Such bans “run counter to the ethos of internet openness, and prevent Chinese access to valuable sources of independent reporting on international matters, as well as China’s own domestic affairs.”
Blocked outlets include the BBC, Bloomberg, The Economist, The Guardian, The Hindu, Le Monde, NBC, The New York Times, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Yomiuri Shimbun, among numerous others. The FCCC cited China’s foreign ministry as saying that just 536 foreign journalists are accredited to report in China.
The report comes as China concludes the sixth edition of its government-run World Internet Conference, at which officials like to spout rhetoric about openness and cooperation. Though Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai both attended in 2017, their companies and other U.S. internet giants such as Facebook and Twitter did not participate this year.
China has long blocked access to foreign sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, though its official state media and even government officials maintain active accounts on the very Western social media platforms banned at home.
The country is home to 854 million internet users as of June, more than double the population of the U.S., according to the official Xinhua news agency.