Ethereum Used to Break Chinese Censorship over Bad Vaccines

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Ethereum Used to Break Chinese Censorship over Bad Vaccines

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A vaccine scandal in China has driven social networkers to use blockchain as a way of bypassing the government’s strict internet censorship.

The news broke in China this week that drug manufacture Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology had sold unsafe vaccines, causing public condemnation across the country. The story which broke via a blogger’s exposé online subsequently went viral on the WeChat social network.

The investigative story posted by the blogger was based on a statement by the government confirming that the lab based in Shenzhen had supplied babies with inferior vaccines. Whooping-Cough and Tetanus immunity drugs were said to be incapable of boosting the immune system of its respondents who in this case were three-month-old babies. The company had been accused of using inferior drugs to boost profits.

China has strict internet policies and is highly state-controlled and monitored by government agencies around the clock. There are reportedly more than 40,000 internet monitors set up for screening out what the government regards as material not fit for public consumption. Google and Facebook are not available to Chinese citizens and only authorized Chinese news sites have public access. Even certain search words are screened out of the Chinese search lexicon.

This particular story was reportedly caught by the monitor screening system and deleted within hours, along with all of its accompanying post, thereby making it unavailable to the Chinese public. Subsequent efforts by bloggers to reblog the piece as the ‘King of Vaccines’, under the pseudonym ‘Beast’ were very quickly discovered by the monitors and also deleted.

That was, until a group of internet users had the clever scheme of taking to the Ethereum network and sending 0.001 Ether to itself with the news story attached… for all time. Due to Ethereuem’s decentralized nature, it then became out of reach of Chinese authorities.

By adding the story to the metadata of a crypto transaction, it appears that the Chinese public may have found a foil to censorship In China, although according to Technode this is not the first time that blockchain has been used in this way.

In April, a student published a letter about threats she received from her university regarding obtaining information over a sexual assault case. It was taken down by the monitors, then subsequently added to the Ethereum blockchain by the other students.

 

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