China’s Censors Ramp Up For Tiananmen Square Anniversary

The Chinese government cracks down on mentions of and even oblique references to the Tiananmen Square killings

Jun 04, 2015 at 11:42 AM ET

It has been more than a quarter-century since the massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, but the government still goes to great lengths to censor anything that could possibly be a reference to the scandalous event.

This year, it seems the government has taken its censorship a step further–it is even blocking money transfers on the popular Chinese site Tencent that use certain numbers that are relevant to the Tiananmen killings. CNN Money reported that users were uploading screenshots of failed transactions on the app for amounts such as 6.40 yuan, or those that included “64” or “89.” The protest happened on June 4, 1989, and the goverment is on the lookout for combinations of those numbers on the Internet around the anniversary that could be a form of anti-government protest.

As they have in years past, thousands of Hong Kongers gathered in Victoria Park on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the events in Tiananmen, in which hundreds–and possibly thousands–of people died. Annually, they hold a candlelight vigil to commemorate the victims. This year, however, three student groups that were active in the Occupy Central protests announced that they weren’t going to attend the vigil andplanned a protest of their own, The New York Times reported. Organizers of this year’s vigil claimed that 135,000 people convened in Victoria Square in memory of the lives lost 26 years ago, reported the Deutsche Welle.

Censorship is nothing new in China. With its “Great Firewall” the Chinese government routinely restricts access to foreign websites such as Google and social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook, and is quick to crack down on sensitive material and any anti-government sentiments.

As the Tiananmen anniversary rolls around, the government routinely monitors Chinese social media sites such as Weibo, WeChat and Tencent for mentions of the massacre and searches that could be passing references to the fateful day in Beijing such as “June,” “4,” “1989,” “64,” and “46.” In years past, the government has even disabled the candle emoticon, as it could be used by protestors to show solidarity for the victims of the massacre.

Read More:

Hong Kong’s Young Find New Meaning In Tiananmen Vigil (The New York Times)
How The Chinese Outwit A Vast Army Of Internet Censors (Vocativ)
China Censors Money Transfers On Tiananmen Anniversary (CNN Money)