Bandcamp has apparently joined services like Facebook, Google and Instagram in having civilian access to it restricted by the Chinese government.
According to GreatFire.org, an anti-censorship advocacy group who document such bans, the website has been shielded from internet service providers in China since Tuesday. Officials have not given any indication of their grounds for blacklisting the website, which offers artists and labels a customizable marketplace for their music and merchandise.
— GreatFire.org (@GreatFireChina) February 17, 2021
Some local musicians don’t seem to regard the outage as much more than a minor inconvenience.
“Generally in China, if you make more than minimum wage and are interested in anything to do with art, music, technology, etc. you will have a VPN, and you probably never turn it off if you’ve set up the application filter,” Shanghai artist Swimful told RA. “You can’t even reliably install a driver for a soundcard without a VPN, because all foreign sites, even those that technically aren’t blocked, are painfully slow on a normal Chinese internet connection.”
“The Great Firewall of China,” as the country’s restrictive information laws have been termed, is thought to be rooted in the suppressive policies of former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, who ruled from 1978-1989. The communist government began to impose limits on internet usage in 1997. The following year, fearing that the China Democracy Party would build a network capable of subverting national unity, officials carried out a 10-year plan to control the flow of information throughout the country.
A spokesperson on behalf of Bandcamp did not immediately respond to Selector‘s request for comment.