China has again flexed its censorship muscle to pounce and raise its Great Firewall on Medium, a fast-growing online platform, and make it inaccessible, multiple news agencies reported.
One of the world's superpowers, China is known for blocking American-based websites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter, as well as other content management systems like WordPress and Blogger.
Now it's doing the same thing with Medium, an online website that allows users including news websites to publish sharable content. What used to be accessible under the radar has now become unreachable in any of the three telcos in the country.
Although the government has yet to issue an official statement regarding Medium's blocking, it may have something to do with Panama Papers scandal, which has implicated some of the country's powerful elite leaders such as relatives of President Xi Jinping.
The scandal involves more than 11 million documents from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based firm that is currently being accused of helping high-powered personalities dodge tax and support illegal financial transactions like money laundering by creating shell and anonymous companies in so-called tax havens.
Many of those who ended up on the list including Deng Jiagui, the president's brother-in-law, were discovered to have opened offshore firms mostly found in the British Virgin Islands.
In what China views as a leak heavily influenced by the West particularly America and biased on non-Western key figures, it has asked all types of content pertaining to the scandal purged, most probably including those published through Medium, reports suggest.
Medium, which began in 2012 by Twitter co-founder Evan Williams, has since issued a short statement about the blocking, saying, "We are aware of the block and we don't have definitive knowledge why the block has occurred."
The website was also banned in Malaysia early this year when it refused to take down "false content" about the alleged misappropriation of funds by one of the country's party leaders. While Medium hosted the article, the owner was Sarawak Report, a London-based investigative website.
Nevertheless, China remains "the world's worst abuser of Internet freedom," and it has no qualms shutting down anything it doesn't like.