China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown goes far beyond the Great Firewall


The 24-hour vigil started just after 8 a.m. Eastern Time on June 3, and started more or less as planned without any major interruptions.

The event was held on Zoom and broadcast live on YouTube and other platforms. It was organized by Chinese activists to commemorate the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing on June 4, 1989, when the student-led democracy movement was brutally suppressed.

Whether it will happen is not certain: organizers worry that they will see a repeat of last year, when the California video conferencing company Zoom shut down three Tiananmen-related events including them at the request of the Chinese government. The company even temporarily suspended The coordinator’s account is deleted, although they are all located outside of mainland China, and four of them are in the United States.

Zoom’s actions led to an investigation and lawsuit filed by the Justice Department in December. “We strive to limit the actions taken to only those necessary to comply with local laws. Our response should not affect users outside of mainland China,” Zoom wrote in a statement. statement Post to its website and admit that it “cannot do it.”

This is one of the most extreme examples of the extent to which Western technology companies comply with China’s strict controls on online content.

A set of suppression

This kind of self-censorship is the standard of Chinese technology companies. They are not subject to such things as American companies. P. 230——Responsible for user content in accordance with Chinese law.

Every year, a few days before sensitive dates such as the anniversary of the crackdown in 1989, the already strictly monitored Chinese Internet becomes more closed than usual. Certain words will be reviewed on various platforms.Commonly used Emojis, like candles, start to disappear From the emoji keyboard. User names on different platforms cannot be changed. Remarks that may be marginalized at other times of the year may lead to visits by national security agencies.

In 2020, at the request of the Chinese government, Zoom closed three Tiananmen-related events even though these events all took place outside of mainland China. Last December, the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit against the company.

This is accompanied by suppression in the real world, Beijing Tiananmen Square strengthens security And other places that the government considers sensitive, while at the same time sending out vocal critics to the regime Mandatory vacation, Detained or directly imprisoned.

This year, this suppression has further expanded.With a new Hong Kong National Security Law Severe restrictions on speech–Despite a few months protest——Memorial activities there and neighboring Macau have been officially banned. (last year 24 people were prosecuted For ignoring a similar ban, including one of the most famous leaders of the movement and democracy activist Huang Zhifeng, he is still in prison and was recently sentenced to 10 months in prison.

Covid is also playing a role: for example, due to a new wave of strict lockdowns following the covid-19 infection, large-scale public events planned to be held in Taiwan have also been cancelled.


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