China has censored a leading medical information platform

The suspension was met with a jovial social backlash among nationalist bloggers who accused DXY of receiving funding from abroad, misleading traditional Chinese medicine and criticizing the healthcare system. of China.

DXY is one of the leaders in China’s digital health startup scene. It hosts the largest online community that Chinese doctors use to discuss professional topics and socialize. It also provides medical news services to a general audience and is considered by many to be the most influential popular science publication in the healthcare field.

“I don’t think anyone, as long as they have something to do with the medical profession, doesn’t follow these accounts [of DXY]“Zhao Yingxi, a global health researcher and PhD candidate at Oxford University, said he also follows DXY accounts on WeChat.

But in China’s increasingly polarized social media environment, healthcare is becoming a controversial target. The quick conclusion that DXY’s demise was triggered by foreign ties and critical work illustrates how politicized health topics have become.

Since its launch in 2000, DXY has raised 5 rounds of funding from well-known companies such as Tencent and venture capital firms. But even that commercial success got it into trouble this week. One of its major investors, Trustbridge Partners, raised funds from sources such as a grant from Columbia University and Singapore’s state holding company Temasek. After DXY’s account was suspended, bloggers used that fact to try to prove their claims that DXY had long been under foreign influence.

Part of the reason the suspension is shocking is that DXY is considered by many to be one of the most trusted online sources for health education in China. In the early days of the covid-19 pandemic, it compiled case numbers and published case maps that were updated every day, becoming the go-to source for Chinese looking to track covid trends. domestic. DXY also made a name for itself by take down some of the famous fraudulent health products in China.

Nor does it shy away from sensitive issues. For example, on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia in 2019, it published the accounts of several victims of conversion therapy and argued that the method This method is not approved by the medical profession.

“The article puts survivors’ voices front and center and doesn’t tiptoe around the disturbing fact that conversion therapy is still popular and even promoted by hospitals and academia. ranks highly,” said Darius Longarino, a senior fellow at Paul Tsai of Yale Law School, at the China Center.

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