Key Developments & Key Figures | Freedom House

Key Developments & Key Figures

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Key Developments: May 1, 2012 - April 30, 2013

  • Mobile replaced broadband as the number one means of accessing the internet in 2012 (see Obstacles to Access).
  • China’s cybercafés are now 40% owned by chains, which are easier for authorities to regulate than independent businesses (see Obstacles to Access and Violations of User Rights).
  • Traffic on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)—used to bypass censorship—was disrupted, sometimes obstructing commercial use (see Limits on Content).
  • Regulators ordered online video services to censor short films in July 2012, when users adopted them to bypass film and broadcast restrictions (see Limits on Content)
  • Security agents in Tibet and Xinjiang searched cellphones to pre-empt allegedly anti-state activity (see Violations of User Rights).
  • A Criminal Procedure Law amendment took effect in January 2013, strengthening legal grounds for detaining anti-state suspects incommunicado (see Violations of User Rights).

Key Figures

564 million: Internet users the government reported as of January 2013;

986 million: Mobile phone owners reported;

800 million: People still citing television as their main source of news (see Obstacles to Access).

94: China’s position in one worldwide survey of broadband speeds;

3: Hong Kong’s position in the same survey (see Obstacles to Access).

400 million: Microblog accounts registered on Sina Weibo;

46 million: Sina Weibo accounts that are actively used;

50,000: Sina Weibo accounts openly operated by ministries or officials (see Limits on Content).

24 hours: Time it takes for Sina Weibo to delete most banned posts (see Limits on Content).

12: Tibetans detained for allegedly inciting separatism, some via mobile phone (see Violations of User Rights).

20: Uighurs sentenced in March 2013 for alleged militant activity involving internet, phone and digital storage devices (see Violations of User Rights).