i remember being amused when the censors in china redirected internet searches for ‘nobel prize’ to an error message because one recipient that year was liu xiaobo, a chinese dissident working for peace.
they had erased society’s way of honoring the great achievers among us.
but this week the chinese web censors have jumped the shark fin soup again.
this time they have outlawed searches for the word ‘today’ because june fourth marks the anniversary of the tiananmen killings.
HONG KONG — Maybe it was just a coincidence, but when the Shanghai Stock Exchange fell 64.89 points on Monday — uncannily echoing the date of the Tiananmen Square crackdown on pro-democracy students on June 4, 1989, exactly 23 years earlier — the Chinese blogosphere went into a tizzy.
“I want to thank all the stock traders!” wrote one microblogger.
“Maybe God does exist?” wrote another.
Whatever the reason, the strange trick that the stock market played on the Chinese Communist Party sent the country’s censors scrambling as well, prompting them to undertake unusually strenuous efforts to block references to the tragedy, which Chinese leaders have tried desperately to erase from their country’s consciousness.
In a nation where numerology is taken very seriously, the censors quickly began blocking searches for “stock market,” “Shanghai stock,” “Shanghai stock market,” “index” and related terms. They also deleted large numbers of microblog postings about the numerical surprise.
And even before tens of thousands of demonstrators clad mostly in black gathered at Victoria Park in Hong Kong for an annual candlelight vigil commemorating the Tiananmen killings, censors were also blocking searches for “Victoria Park,” “black clothes,” “silent tribute” and even “today.”
today does not exist in china today.
may 35, 1989