From the tipao to modern-day, China has a history of censorship.
It was only over 2000 years ago that the tipao was the main source of news, exclusively for the elite. Now news and communication has expanded to anyone capable of buying a smart phone, even those under censorship.
In modern-day Hong Kong, minor protests ensued last August when the Chinese government announced it candidates for Hong Kong’s first seemingly democratic mayoral election in 2017 would be thoroughly investigated by Beijing. Those opposed fear that mainland China will never allow Hong Kong to live under a true democracy.
According to the article, “These protests grew to tens of thousands this past week after some were arrested and others pepper-sprayed, resulting in the largest demonstrations Hong Kong has seen in years.”
And this issue has caused many protesters to suspect that authorities would shut down some cell networks in the city. Consequently, they have begun chatting on FireChat, an app that doesn’t require a central network connection.
The service allows for anonymous chatting with groups of people nearby, and the connection works on Android and iOS via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.
However, the app has some pitfalls in privacy and security.
“People need to understand that this is not a tool to communicate anything that would put them in a harmful situation if it were to be discovered by somebody who’s hostile,” Christophe Daligault, vice president of sales and marketing for the company that developed FireChat said.
Once again, the people’s thirst for communication and news thrives through word of mouth. But can apps like these overcome an authority determined to control the media?