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Originally published September 13 2015

India, China and US governments all censor the internet when they don't want citizens to learn the truth

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) A surge of caste-related unrest in India has led the government there to close off the internet in another attempt to silence opposition and control the narrative. This is a tactic that is often used in neighboring China, and it might even be coming to U.S. networks in the future.

As reported by Al Jazeera, the Indian government deployed the army and other paramilitary forces and imposed a curfew in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the state of Gujarat, after deadly violence broke out at a protest led by a powerful caste demanding greater access to government jobs and colleges.

The Gujarat state government imposed a curfew in parts of Ahmedabad as well as four additional cities and towns across the western state following protests involving about 500,000 members of the affluent Patel caste.

In addition, according to a Times of India blog tracking the protests and events in real time, a government-imposed shutdown of the internet was extended on August 27 for two more days, making it impossible for protesters to use social media to get their message out.

Patels tossing stones also torched cars, buses and police stations following the arrest of their leader, Hardik Patel, who had led a massive protest in Ahmedabad, according to police sources who spoke with Al Jazeera.

Controlling narratives – and the masses

The Arab news site further reported:

At least a dozen officers were injured in the violence, prompting the first curfew in the state since 2002 when communal riots left at least 1,000 people dead, Gujarat Director General of Police P C Thakur said.

"The curfew was imposed following large scale arson and rioting by members of the Patidar [or Patel] community in different cities of the state late on Tuesday," Thakur told Agence France-Presse, as cited by Al Jazeera.

China frequently uses the tactic of shutting down internet access to contain the spread of truthful information via social media.

In January, Reuters reported that Chinese authorities shut down 50 web sites and social media for a variety of "crimes" ranging from the posting of pornography to "publishing political news without a permit."

Reuters reported further:

The government is pursuing a crackdown on unwanted material online. Critics say the increasing restrictions further limit free speech in the one-party Communist state.

Authorities shut 17 public pages on the mobile social messaging app Weixin, also known as WeChat in English, as well as 24 websites and 9 channels or columns on websites, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said in a statement on its website.

Chinese government officials also cracked down in August 2012, shutting down "pornographic" sites that were really just erotic and ramping up their monitoring of Sina Weibo, China's version of Twitter, deleting hundreds of thousands of posts, as reported by Mic. That crackdown was in response to "a tumultuous week in Chinese politics where Bo Xilai was ousted and pictures of tanks on the streets sparked rumors of a government coup," the site reported.

Remember "Net Neutrality"?

Could this kind of internet censorship happen in the United States, the land of the First Amendment? Some people think so, and many believe that is the impetus behind the Obama administration's so-called "Net Neutrality" rules approved earlier this year by the Federal Communications Commission.

On February 26, a small group of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats -- three, to be exact -- voted to give the federal government the instant authority to reclassify the internet from a free, uninhibited mode of communication and commerce into a "public utility" just like your old phone company so that it can be "better regulated". All of this is being done under the phony guise of making everything more "fair." Now, when Comcast or Verizon provide services to your home, they will have to do so "in the public interest," whatever that means.

Simply put, the Obama administration wants to be able to do what China and India can do: shut down access so it can control narratives.

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