News of HK vigil slips past censors

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 9:00am

Blogs were blocked, Twitter was tamed and there was nothing in the newspapers, but word of Hong Kong's commemoration of the Tiananmen crackdown still filtered through to the mainland yesterday.

Internet users bypassed censors and accessed overseas Chinese- language websites to see images of Thursday's 150,000-strong crowd at the candle-light vigil in Victoria Park.

Some mainland bloggers travelled to Hong Kong to attend the gathering and uploaded live video onto websites.

On, a liberal blog service popular with the mainland's cultural community - which was shut down last year and moved its servers to the United States - bloggers discussed the events at Victoria Park and uploaded photos.

'We mainlanders should thank the Hong Kong people who gathered to mourn June 4 last night: they represent the conscience of China,' one blogger said.

The microblogging service Twitter was among a host of websites blocked in the run-up to the anniversary as Beijing strained to avoid any mention of the events.

Meanwhile, netizens were engaged in a game of cat and mouse with censors over the memoirs of former leader Zhao Ziyang , which lift the lid on Beijing's decision to crack down on the protesters. Websites offering a free download of the book were quickly shut down.

Netizens using search engines such as Google or Baidu learned little about events in Hong Kong. Searches involving the words 'Hong Kong', 'vigil' and 'Victoria Park' showed heavily filtered results.

As one website editor observed: 'The mainland media and internet is deadly clean.' The day after the anniversary, all the blocked websites remained out of bounds.

The English-language China Daily referred briefly to the crackdown in a story on Beijing's protest over remarks by US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the anniversary, but there was no mention in the Chinese-language press.