June 4 blackout: China’s Weibo blocks overseas users from posting video and photos
Millions of overseas users of China’s biggest Twitter-like social media platform were blocked from posting pictures or video on their feeds on Sunday, the 28th anniversary of the bloody June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Users within the country were also prevented from changing their profile information and adding visuals to comments on other people’s posts on the Sina Weibo platform, which hosts more than 80 per cent of all microblogging activity on the mainland.
The other photographers who snapped Tiananmen’s Tank Man, and their memories of June 4, 1989 in Beijing
Sina Weibo suddenly announced at about 11.09am on Saturday that it was upgrading its system and the restrictions would remain in place until Monday.
“[We] appeal to users for understanding and forgiveness for the inconvenience caused,” the company said.
Each year, commemorations are held around the world to remember the hundreds, if not more than 1,000, student protesters killed in Tiananmen Square by troops sent in to suppress the pro-democracy movement in 1989.
But the event is not marked on the mainland, where discussion of the crackdown has been suppressed for nearly three decades.
One overseas Weibo user said the anniversary would have passed unnoticed on the mainland if not for the uploading restrictions.
“[I] seriously doubt someone from the inside is using this method to coerce people to reflect each year. Otherwise how many people would care to remember it?” Britain-based microblogger Aga_huiguiDCbabadehuaibao said.
An hour after the upgrade was announced, Australia-based Weibo user Susu_Zhuanjiehaodadekengwozhankadiya posted that users with overseas IP addresses could no longer post photos.
“Had it not been for this ban and its timing, I would not have realised it was [the date],” the user wrote.
“Regardless who was right or wrong, [I] sincerely hope this incident can be recognised [by the authorities].”