By Jake Mulick
The Chinese government has banned the popular social networking and image sharing site Pinterest.
Pinterest has been accessible in China since the website’s inception, but access has been curtailed under China’s firewall, according to CNN.
Chinese Pinterest users have avoided scrutiny from the Chinese government due to the site’s generally innocent nature, CNN reported.
In both China and America, Pinterest is typically used as a place to find inspiration in fashion, recipes and creative projects.
China wishes to protect its local social networks and internet companies. Banning Pinterest is a move used to preserve the economic viability of Chinese home industries, according to the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies.
According to the same source, similar measures have been used before in order to preserve Chinese internet-based companies.
The Chinese government hopes that blocking access to Pinterest will lead China’s 731 million internet users to use domestic sites instead of foreign competitors like Pinterest, CNN reported.
The ban coincides with this year’s meeting of China’s annual National People’s Congress, which is a meeting of top legislators in China to discuss the domestic economic and political course of the country for the upcoming year, according to CNN.
According to the same source, this meeting is often heavily scrutinized because it determines the movement of the world’s second largest economy, CNN reported.
The same source reported that China is able to curtail the internet for their people because of the “Great Firewall,” a powerful device that allows the Chinese government to manipulate the internet in their mainland.
The Chinese government uses this firewall to filter out specific keywords that represent certain Chinese ideals that the government might not agree with, such as Tibetan Independence and Tiananmen Square Massacre, CNN reported.
The internet in China is streamed through three servers located in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, according to the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies.