China is exporting its methods of strict internet controls to governments around the world that are employing them to stifle dissent and free flow of information, and tighten their grip on power, according to U.S.-based Freedom House.
In an annual report issued Wednesday, the rights watchdog said global internet freedom had declined for the eighth consecutive year in 2018, with democratic governance under threat from what it called “digital authoritarianism.”
Freedom House says Beijing has held sessions on managing online content with 36 of the 65 countries tracked in the report, and provided internet monitoring equipment to governments of many of those nations. The group also says many governments have passed or proposed new laws restricting internet information and access in the name of fighting “fake news.”
The report also expressed dismay over efforts in the United States to reverse “net neutrality” rules that ensure internet service providers treat all data equally, and not manipulate them into “faster” or “slower” speeds.