Tiananmen Square, 23 years later: China censors can’t silence Internet dissidents



Soldier in Tiananmen Square, the day after.  Courtesy of @zuola  on Twitpic

Weibo removes candle icon ahead of #Tiananmen anniversary – CDT: http://t.co/QGFlq8ab

— Mike (@mipesom) June 4, 2012

China blocks Tiananmen talk on crackdown anniversary http://t.co/Of3rKGGc

— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 4, 2012

Hey, good morning, Beijing. Today is the anniversary of that time nothing happened in Tiananmen Square, and you probably can't see this.

— Spencer Hall (@edsbs) June 4, 2012

Sensitive Words: The Tiananmen Edition http://t.co/9dNXrcUi

— China Digital Times (@CDTimes) June 4, 2012

Despite efforts by China’s ruling Communist Party to put a lid on freedom-fighters marking the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Internet dissidents are circumventing the info blockade and taking to Twitter to spread images and words reminding the world of the brutality.

Soldier in #Tiananmen Square, the day after. Courtesy of @zuola http://t.co/lAF6EqR1#China #Beijing #history

— Jaime Daza (@jaimedaza) June 4, 2012

一九八九年的六月五号的天安门广场一片狼藉,除了战士,也许没有人知道这里几个小时前发生了什么。... on Twitpic

The June 4 Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989 was a tragedy in the history of China. Thousands of people lost their lives. Never again.

— Ting Liu (@tingliucs) June 4, 2012

How do netizens talk about #june4 on #Weibo given the #censorship? A creative one #China #Tiananmen #8964 #六四 @CDTimes pic.twitter.com/2gXV1VUd

— Carmen Ng 吳嘉文 (@Carmen_NgKaMan) June 3, 2012

#China Fails to Halt #Tiananmen Book's HK Release – ABC News http://t.co/zoAtse7i "Conversation with Chen Xitong" goes through censorship

— Marie Laenen (@MarieLaenen) June 3, 2012

AMAZING journalism piece – BBC News – June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square Massacre: http://t.co/4WI3FFO3 via @youtube #NeverForgetJune4

— Nashua Gallagher (@Nashua852) June 4, 2012

More on the censorship attempts:

China’s censors blocked internet access to the terms “six four”, “23”, “candle” and “never forget” on Monday, broadening extensive efforts to silence talk about the 23rd anniversary of China’s bloody June 4 crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

For China’s ruling Communist Party, the 1989 demonstrations that clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing and spread to other cities remains taboo, all the more so this year as the government prepares for a tricky leadership handover.

Searches for the terms related to the anniversary, such as “six four” for June 4, were blocked on Sina Weibo, the most popular of China’s Twitter-like microblogging platforms. Users encountered a message that said the search results could not be displayed “due to relevant laws, regulations and policies”.

“It’s that day again and once more numerous posts are being deleted,” a Sina microblogger wrote. Sina was not immediately available for comment.


6.3.1989 – 6.3.2012 Tiananmen Square Massacre 23rd Anniversary. Never Forget! pic.twitter.com/eoDUAuiZ

— westlaker (@westlaker) June 3, 2012


Late on Sunday night, Twitter users reported that China had blocked a BBC report on the Tiananmen Square anniversary:

Is BBC World doing a story on the Tiananmen anniversary right now, or just broadcasting a blank screen?

— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) June 4, 2012

#China blocking BBC World TV reports on anniversary of #Tiananmen massacre. Screen goes black, this is why .. http://t.co/C8dSqkIf

— Damian Grammaticas (@dngbbc) June 4, 2012

When viewers in China get black screens on @BBCWorld , this is what they're missing: http://t.co/ByHcLA7v @markmackinnon @relevantorgans

— Becky Lipscombe (@BjingBeckster) June 4, 2012


But the remembrances around the world can’t be stopped:

My mother was pregnant with me when she protested #Tiananmen Square 23 years ago in front of LA's Chinese consulate.

— Ashley Lee (@ashleyllee) June 4, 2012

平反六四。民主烈士永垂不朽。In memories of those perished in the Tiananmen Square Protest on June 4th, 1989. De oppresso liber. pic.twitter.com/JzpmEZmj

— Tim (@NullOverflow) June 4, 2012


Remember Tiananmen Square. Long Live The Godess of Democracy.

— Keith Leong (@Damansara_Keith) June 4, 2012

What #sina #weibo hasn't blocked: 纪念亡魂(remember the dead spirits), 5.35. Screenshots posted as photos are still ok. #Tiananmen #June4.

— yygall (@yygall) June 4, 2012

Take a moment to remember those who died fighting for still unrealised freedom in Tiananmen Square. June 4th 1989.

— Ross Parker (@rossdotparker) June 3, 2012