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China 'blocks' political discussion app Clubhouse

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The icon for the social media app Clubhouse is seen on a smartphone screen in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.
The icon for the social media app Clubhouse is seen on a smartphone screen in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021.   -   Copyright  Mark Schiefelbein/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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China has blocked the use of up-and-coming social media app Clubhouse, it's been claimed

The app allowed people in China to engage in political discussions with people outside of the country, on topics such as democracy and Taiwan.

The service was cut off on Monday, according to GreatFire.org, a US non-profit group that monitors Chinese internet filtering and tries to help users circumvent it.

For many China mainland users, it was their first direct communication with people in Hong Kong and with exiles from the Uighur minority in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s government is hostile to independent voices. The Communist Party closely monitors internet content and mainstream social media platforms are blocked. The government also refuses to acknowledge the existence of its internet filters.

The app was removed from Apple Store in China store by at least December 16, according to Benjamin Ismail, an activist with the group Apple Censorship. Users could still download it if they had access to an Apple Store abroad.

Clubhouse didn’t respond to requests for comment to Associated Press.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said on Tuesday he had no information about Clubhouse. He said the internet in China “is open” but is managed “in accordance with relevant laws”.

“We are determined to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests and oppose foreign interference,” Wang said.