China, an autocratic and authoritarian state. One that is not new to censorship. In fact, they’ve come to be known because of it. The Chinese establishment is well-known for shutting down any anti-state narrative.
Whatever the government decrees as correct, is what stands. Any other narrative is tagged and taken down. Perpetrators are arrested and their entire organizations are taken down.
The Ban on Notepad++
Something similar has occurred yet again within the country. Notepad++, a recognized website in China, has been taken down. Not only that, but the website has been banned as well. The reason for the ban can easily be traced to a stand taken on the website recently. One edition titled “Free Uyghur” was made public. Another edition titled “Stand with Hong Kong” was also made public.
Both of these narratives are strongly against the narrative battered by the Chinese government. Thus, quick action has been taken to shun these voices. This information has been made public by the source code and text editor. The information was announced to the public on Twitter.
What is Notepad++?
First, let us understand a little bit about Notepad ++. What it is and how it works. The application was first released in 2003 by Don Ho. Don Ho at the time was residing in France. The app was designed to be used freely and openly by the people. It is compatible with Windows. Notepad++ is even integrated to run over ninety languages.
In both the editions that were released, Don made his opinion clear. He wanted his app to be a platform where people could raise their voices. Ho wanted the app to be used to open a discord to discuss humanitarian issues. Specifically, regarding the areas of Hong Kong and Xinjiang autonomous region.
Don Ho’s Stance
Over the last couple of years, Don Ho has made his political standing on the issue very clear. In 2014, he released a statement regarding the Tiananmen demonstrations. These demonstrations were being held demanding a democratic form of governance.
Later on, in this year, the “Free Uyghur” version was made public. It was not long before loyal users came rushing to his aid. The Github repository of Notepad++ was flooded to the brim with comments from Chinese users voicing their opinions.
The ban is brutal but effective
After digging deeper, we’ve found that the ban on the app is rather limited but effective. The Download page of Notepad++ has been banned not the app itself. However, it was on the Download page only that the special version regarding “Free Uyghurs” and “Stand with Hong Kong” could be found.
Basically, what the government did was that they did not take down the app. Just the politically charged content. Anyone within China who tries to access the information through Chinese routers can not do so.
The app’s homepage remains untouched and unharmed. It is fully functional and accessible to the masses. Local browsers have not flagged it down and it remains open so far. The complete web app can still however be accessed through DuckDuckGo or Google Chrome within the country.
Currently, we’re trying to get into contact with Notepad++ to get some more insight into the situation.
What the Chinese government is doing is utterly wrong. Silencing the voices of their people to reiterate their own narrative, that is a clear violation of human rights. Furthermore, taking down the politically charged content of a website rather than the whole app itself is a clever way to save face. However, people in China who wish to access the sensitive information should use Google Chrome and DuckDuckGo.