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China’s netizens use blockchain to spread censored news

Chinese censors regularly clamp down on negative news stories

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Some people use cryptocurrencies as a way of transferring digital assets. Now, people in China are turning to them in an attempt to evade the snooping eyes of the country’s censors.

The Ethereum transaction storing one of the censored stories. (Picture: Etherscan)

It all started last week when the food and drug administration of the northeastern province of Jilin announced that a major drug maker had been supplying inferior vaccines that were given to babies as young as three months’ old.

The story struck a chord with many Chinese, sick of a system they see as tainted by corruption and weak regulation -- and many of them took to social media to vent their frustration.
But then the Chinese government decided enough was enough and promptly started deleting posts and stories about the scandal from platforms like WeChat.
One of those censored stories was called " The Vaccine King" and it quickly gained traction online -- but was soon blocked, as TechNode reports.
The message that appears when trying to access the original article on WeChat. (Picture: WeChat)

Which is where blockchain comes in.

Blockchain, the technology underlying cryptocurrencies, enables the creation of an online database network where all participants create, share and store records of transactions in a secure and efficient manner.

In a bid to get around the censors, coders hashed -- essentially converted the story to data by applying an algorithm to it -- and posted it as metadata as a transaction on the Ethereum blockchain.

And because blockchain is designed to be tamper-proof -- or immutable -- there is nothing the censors can do to alter it.

It's an interesting solution in a country where cryptocurrencies are banned, but where blockchain fever is running wild.

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