CHINA HAS CENSORED A MAJOR HEALTH INFORMATION PLATFORM
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CHINA HAS CENSORED A MAJOR HEALTH INFORMATION PLATFORM

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China has censored DXY, the country’s leading health information platform. On August 9, DXY went silent on social media, where he has more than 80 million followers. Five of his Weibo accounts were suddenly suspended with a vague explanation that they violated “relevant laws and regulations,” while his accounts on WeChat and Douyin (the home version of TikTok) stopped posting. had done

Neither these social media platforms nor DXY have issued a public statement about the reason for the suspension, but Nikkei Asia reported that the order came from regulators and will not end without official approval.

The suspension has sparked a lively social backlash among nationalist bloggers, who accuse DXY of receiving foreign funding, criticizing traditional Chinese medicine, and criticizing China’s health system.

DXY is at the forefront of China’s digital health startup scene. It hosts the largest online community used by Chinese doctors to discuss professional issues and socialize. It also provides a medical news service for a general audience, and is widely regarded as the most influential popular science publication in health care.

“I don’t think anyone, as long as they’re in the medical profession, doesn’t follow these [DXY] accounts,” says Zhao Yingxi, a global health researcher and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. He followed the DXY accounts. Also WeChat accounts.

But in China’s increasingly polarized social media environment, health care is becoming a controversial target. The immediate conclusion that DXY’s death is due to his foreign relations and critical work illustrates how politicized health issues have become.

Since its launch in 2000, DXY has raised five rounds of funding from prominent companies such as Tencent and venture capital firms. But even that commercial success has caused him trouble this week. One of its main investors, Trust Bridge Partners, raises funds through sources such as donations from Columbia University and Singapore’s state-owned holding company, Temasek. After DXY’s accounts were suspended, bloggers used the fact to back up their claims that DXY had always been under foreign influence.

The reason the suspension is so shocking is that DXY is seen as one of the most trusted online sources for health education in China. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, it compiled case numbers and published a case map that was updated daily, becoming a go-to resource for Chinese tracking Covid trends in the country. Is. DXY also made a name for itself by removing several high-profile fraudulent health products in China.

Nor have they shied away from sensitive issues. For example, on the occasion of the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in 2019, he published accounts of several conversion therapy victims, arguing that the practice is not supported by medical consensus. Is.

“The article placed the voices of survivors front and center and made no mention of the troubling fact that conversion therapy is still practiced and even practiced by top government and academic hospitals. is carried forward,” says Darius Longarino, a Paul Tsai Sr. fellow at Yale Law. School. Chinese Center.

The sudden suspension of DXY’s social media accounts took her followers by surprise. “I don’t think they did anything inappropriate,” Zhao says.

But DXY’s opponents were quick to find a political explanation. On social media, some defended the suspension on the grounds that DXY questioned the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

In April 2022, DXY published an article about Lianhua Qingwen. A modern TCM product distributed by the Chinese government as a treatment for Covid-19. In the now-deleted article, the DXY authors cautioned that the drug has never been properly tested. In a clinical trial and noted that some ingredients are banned in other countries.

The widely read and reported article caused the stock market value of Lianhua Qingwen. The pharmaceutical company behind Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical, to drop to $1.05 billion. For most health professionals, the article was reasonable and not controversial. But that made DXY a target for TCM supporters. Since then, DXY has been accused of colluding with Western pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, which manufactures the CoVID-19 treatment Paxlovid. Discrediting Traditional Chinese Medicine. TCM supporters celebrated the suspension of DXY accounts as evidence of the platform’s wrongdoings.

As in the United States, certain public health issues in China have been highly politicized, including CoVID-19. Choosing a side in scientific debates in China is often like choosing a side in the ideological divide between China and the West.

Although DXY is the most prominent example. It is not the first popular science publication to fall victim to social media campaigns in China. Several popular digital science CE publications and video channels, such as Elephant Magazine and Paperclip, are funded by foreign NGOs. Has been targeted for trolling and nationalist influence for getting the nod. And posting content that paints China in a negative light. These posts have been dissolved or disappeared from social media after being censored.

 

DXY Supporters Fear That May Be The Case

“This is the best platform for home health education. It has played a very important role in popularizing evidence-based medicine”. Said Wang Xian, a Chinese journalist whose social media accounts were censored. In 2019 before immigrating to Japan. was done, wrote on Twitter. “I hope he can survive.”

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