China Blocks Namibia on Internet to cut off news of Hu Jintao corruption case
Namibia has disappeared off the face of the earth as far as the Chinese government is concerned, at least. People in China keen to read about the fate of fellow countryman Yang Fan following his appearance in a Namibian court in the Nuctech corruption case, were left none the wiser as all Chinese search engines are blocking a list of keywords pertaining to the probe, including Namibia.
Type in 'Namibia', and Chinese search engines spit out no results. The same goes for 'Namibia bribery investigation', 'Yang Fan bribery investigation', 'Nuctech bribery investigation' and 'southern Africa bribery investigation'.
Also for 'Hu Haifeng', Chinese President Hu Jintao's son, who as former Nuctech chief is linked to the case. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Namibia is interested to question Hu junior, although he is not a suspect in the case.
Searching for any of the above keywords on a Chinese search engine produces an error message, which translated freely, means: "The search results may contain content not in line with relevant laws, regulations and policies," Times Online reported.
According to the newspaper, The China Digital Times - a US-based blog run by Xiao Qiang - of the Berkeley China Internet Project at the University of California, posted a copy of a notice it said had been issued by the Communist Party's propaganda department shortly after Yang, and co-accused Teckla Lameck and Kongo Mokaxwa appeared in court the first time.
The notice, issued to all search engines, read: 'Hu Haifeng, Namibia, Namibia bribery investigation, Nuctech bribery investigation, southern Africa bribery investigation. Please show no search results for all the above keywords.'
The Chinese government censorship is the latest in a series which includes micro-blogging sites like Fanfou, Digu and Jiwai, the Edmonton Journal of the University of Canada states. Also blacklisted is Facebook, while Zuosa, YouTube and Twitter are all intermittent. "Nobody is exactly sure what the crackdown is about or when it will end," the Journal says.