May 11, 2021

Politics & News

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Clubhouse Opens a Window for Free Expression in China

1 min read
Photograph by Sheldon Cooper / SOPA / Getty

Clubhouse is an audio-only social-media platform offering chat rooms on any subject, allowing thousands of people to gather and listen to one another. Jiayang Fan, who often reports on China, tells David Remnick that the chance to talk in private and without a text trail has opened a window of free expression for Chinese users. (Recently, some questions have been raised about whether the app is as secure as its makers claim.) Suddenly, in chat rooms with names such as “There is a concentration camp in Xinjiang?,” Chinese users have been able to address politically taboo subjects out loud in large groups. A Clubhouse chat-room moderator explains to Fan that, for Han Chinese, who are the beneficiaries of the government’s persecution of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities, the app offers a space for reckoning and protest comparable to America’s Black Lives Matter movement. The government has clamped down on Clubhouse, but tech-savvy young people are used to finding work-arounds.

2021-03-01 16:08:57

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