[dropcap size=small]C[/dropcap]hina Digital Times (CDT), an independent and bilingual news publication based in California, recently published a leaked set of censorship instructions handed down to the media by government officials. The unnamed Chinese government agency instructed Chinese media to continue taking down various inflammatory articles about sensitive issues in China. They also requested that the media find and stop the spread of news from the South China sea regarding confrontations between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels. At the end of the list was a very specific and actionable item:
(5) The Global Bitcoin Summit 2014 will be held on May 10-11 in Beijing. All websites are asked not to participate in or report on the summit. Do not hype bitcoins. All reporting on bitcoins must henceforth accord with the specifications of financial regulatory agencies. Please carry out the above immediately. (May 7, 2014)
The specific government organization that issued this censorship hotlist has not been named in order to protect CDT’s source. Gone are the days of hour-long Bitcoin introduction sections on state-sponsored Chinese news channels. Bitcoin has finally grown large enough for multiple arms of the Communist Chinese government to take notice and start prodding, pulling, and covering. Pay special attention to Chinese media’s reports on Bitcoin from now on… You’ll notice the difference.
This revelation comes on the heels of five Chinese Bitcoin exchanges announcing in a joint statement that they would not be attending the Global Bitcoin Summit in Beijing on 5/10 and 5/11. The five Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges were OKCoin, Huobi, BTC China, BtcTrade, and CHBTC. However, some employees of these Chinese Bitcoin exchanges have reported that they will still be attending the Bitcoin Summit, but in an official capacity. Additionally, all the sponsored money has already been given and spent. The Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges, in their joint statement, expressed their submission to the Chinese government, vowing to “curb excessive speculation” and “comply with all state policies and regulations.” Participation in the Global Bitcoin Summit was one of the items that had to go. It is yet unclear if the same government agency that issued this censorship list to Chinese media sources also strong-armed the Chinese Bitcoin exchanges into abandoning the Global Bitcoin Summit.
The Global Bitcoin Summit is going to kick off in Beijing tomorrow. However, without Chinese Bitcoin exchanges as speakers and without any official Chinese media coverage, will the Bitcoin Summit be a success? Very honestly, state media and Chinese Bitcoin exchanges would have only been able to contribute so much to the event. The Bitcoin Summit already has important Bitcoiners flying in from all around the world to attend and to speak, the event will be a huge success despite the Chinese government’s best efforts to censor it.