On Tiananmen anniversary, Sina Weibo users couldn’t even say ‘today’

Chinese government: Not fans of early Smashing Pumpkins singles.


Kevin Collier


Published Jun 4, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 4:50 am CDT

Just how badly does the Chinese government want to censor people from commemorating the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests?

Badly enough that users couldn’t even say the word “today” on the country’s biggest social media site.

June 4 is the anniversary of the culmination of the 1989 protests against government corruption that led to scores of deaths and that iconic photo of a man standing down a row of tanks. It’s still a sensitive topic in China, and a ripe topic for its censors.

So those who use on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like site that boasts more than half a billion users, got an official error message if they tried to search for the generic word for “??” (“today”) on Wednesday.

“In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results for ‘Today’ have not been displayed.”

Anthony Tao, who runs the China-based blog Beijing Cream, confirmed the ban.

The blog Fei Chang Dao, which tracks Chinese censorship online, noted that a handful of other the phrases that could be associated with protests, like “Victoria Park,” the site of Hong Kong’s planned memorial gathering, were also censored recently.

H/t @wafarris | Photo by bfishadow/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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*First Published: Jun 4, 2014, 6:28 pm CDT