How is China Backing Putin Against Opposition Protests?

Published May 4th, 2021 - 07:39 GMT
Putin related content on Tiktok has been muted
Putin related content on Tiktok has been muted by platform moderators. (Albawaba/ Riham Darwish)

With rising criticism against the Russian president within his country, especially after the rapid developments of the arrest of opposition leader Alexei Navalny in recent weeks, one of the world's most popular video-sharing apps is reportedly helping Vladimir Putin silence voices he does not like.

Even though Tiktok's viral posts have repeatedly backed a number of political protests around the world, it seems that discussions between Russian and Chinese officials have successfully stopped anti-Putin videos from reaching large audiences on the platform owned by China's ByteDance.

According to the South China Morning Post, a number of popular Russian users have noticed that the reach of their content has been limited by the platform's moderators once they started speaking up against the Russian government, which has affected their income as content creators.

Such reports correspond to earlier ones hinting at a Russian request to China for help managing related content on Tiktok, the app widely used in Russia and said to have had encouraged anti-government protestors to take to the streets in previous campaigns.

Since last January, thousands of Russians have been protesting in a number of cities across the country in support of the opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who has been in jail since his return to the country in the early weeks of 2021. 

In August 2020, Navalny had survived a poisoning attempt using a Novichok nerve agent which had caused his evacuation to Germany for medical treatment.

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