China Bans Scratch — Children’s Programming Language Platform
Users from China have lost access to the American educational project Scratch that helps teach children programming skills in an accessible form. The period of blocking are unknown, but the reason for closing access to the site could be allegedly anti-Chinese content posted on the platform.
We’ve already talked about internet blocking in Belarus. The probable reasons and results of this, you can find reading the article Internet Blackout In Belarus.
More about Scratch
Scratch is a well-known children project for programming developed by the MIT Media Lab. It is a visual event-oriented environment that interprets Logo-based programming language — usually, such a program aimed at teaching children and teenagers.
Programs on Scratch consist of graphic blocks whose captions depend on the selected interface language. At least 50 interface languages support it.
The number of users of the platform exceeds 3 million, and 5.65% live in China. However, as Techcrunch notes, the project covers a much larger audience, since Chinese programmers create their own developments based on the Scratch source code.
Now, the educational project’s site is banned in China. The Techcrunch portal reported such information regarding the site Greatfire.org. This resource is known thanks to its monitoring of the availability of the websites in China.
Why was it banned?
Today, there is an official version of blocking the project. China.com.cn (the official news resource in China) reported that Scratch contained a lot of humiliating, fake and defamatory content about China. Among other things, it was reported that this platform distributed wrong information about territories like Macao, Taiwan, Hong Kong. China tacitly believes that these territories belong to it.
Also, one more media channel k618.cn reported that Scratch negatively influenced young users from China and destroyed their mental ability to think critically.
According to Chinese journalists, the uncontrolled dissemination of anti-Chinese and separatist statements offends the Chinese people’s feelings and “poisons their future.”
Scratch banned in China looks like real censorship on the internet. You can read more about this topic in the article What Is The Issue With Internet Censorship?
Is it available offline?
It should be noted that the Scratch development environment (Scratch Desktop) is available for download from the project’s website and can be used even without an internet connection. This way, users who have already downloaded Scratch will be able to continue learning to program.
However, the fate of the China project remains in question: if the block turns out to be “eternal”, then over time, the already downloaded and installed Software will become outdated, which will force educational institutions to look for an alternative to American development.
Not so long ago, Donald Trump decided to control all social networks within the country. What came out of this? Read Social Network Under Control and be ready to find an alternative to popular apps.
Alternative to Scratch
Despite the popularity of Scratch in China, as noted by Techcrunch, it continues to have competitors in the local market. These include the Kitten project, which the authors consider “more reliable” than Scratch, operates in more than 21 countries in the world. And it has at least 30 million users and 11K clients among private and public institutions.
Chinese companies Netease and Tencent are also developing their own products for young programmers.