A new app that bypasses China's strict internet censorship to allow users to access Twitter has been launched, coinciding with the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
FireTweet was developed by the same team that created Lantern, a peer-to-peer internet circumvention tool that provides unrestricted web access to censored regions like China and Iran.
"Lantern's basic approach is to use redundant strategies to get around blocking," FireTweet founder Adam Fisk told the South China Morning Post, one of the news organisations affected by Chinese internet censorship.
"If one strategy fails, another kicks in and it keeps working."
FireTweet works by automatically integrating with Twitter and Lantern, offering the full experience of the micro-blogging site to the 35.5 million Twitter users in China.
Great Firewall of China
China is notorious for its internet censorship through the so-called 'Great Firewall of China', which is most heavily enforced in early June in order to prevent report or discussion of the events of 4 June 1989, when government troops massacred students demonstrating in Tiananmen Square. As a result 4 June is now sarcastically referred to as Internet Maintenance Day.
Lantern's efforts to advance internet freedom have led to support from the US State Department as part of a programme run together with the US Agency for International Development.
Despite early growth, the number of Lantern users has levelled off at around 150,000, according to internal figures. This is due to the difficulty of bypassing Chinese censors to share the software.
Other groups dedicated to fighting Chinese internet censorship, such as GreatFire.org, have faced pressure from Chinese authorities as a result of their efforts to help people in China access banned websites.
Earlier this year, GreatFire.org was the victim of a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, while the Cyberspace Administration of China reportedly attempted to impersonate and intercept its encrypted email.
"This kind of attack is aggressive and is an exhibition of censorship by brute force," GreatFire.org said at the time. "Attackers resort to tactics like this when they are left with no other options."