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Chinese internet censors protest against President Xi Jinping

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The Chinese internet is in a censorship overdrive mode as a small-scale demonstration involving two banners and a small fire appeared on a highway overbridge on Thursday to eradicate digital evidence and punish social media users who spread the message further.

Protests against the government are rather rare in China considering the harsh penalties dissenters have to bear. This demonstration comes at a sensitive time as the Chinese capital prepares for what is the ruling Communist Party’s most important political meeting in over a decade where current President Xi Jinping is expected to get an unprecedented third consecutive term as party leader. 

The protest, which involved banners calling for the president’s removal calling him a dictator and traitor, was short-lived. The man responsible was apprehended by numerous police officers just minutes later. The Beijing police haven’t yet revealed what has happened or will happen to the man responsible. 

The country’s censors soon caught up with images of the protest circulating on social media and have since been on crackdown removing any evidence of the event ever happening while also suspending thousands of WeChat accounts belonging to users who had shared images of the protest and related banners. 

Chinese Twitter clone Weibo was also involved in the coverup, removing any and all mentions and images of the protest on the platform while also disabling thousands of user accounts for violating the “relevant Internet policies”. The platform also blocked results from a rather wide pool of keywords including ‘bridge’, ‘brave’ ‘warrior’ and even ‘Beijing’. 

The scrubbing isn’t limited to Chinese platforms either. Apple Music took down a song titled “Sitong Bridge” released in 2011. The name of a man who had posted the same slogans on Twitter leading up to the protest was also censored under the suspicion of him being the protestor. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: yadullahabidi@pm.me.

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