Twenty-three years after tanks surged into Beijing and the military opened fire on pro-democracy protestors in Tiananmen Square, Twitter’s primary Chinese counterpart Sina Weibo has snuffed out the virtual flames of remembrance. Talk of the tragedy of June 4, 1989, which has never been publically commemorated in mainland China, is now being censored in both state-controlled and social media.
Yesterday Sina Weibo, the largest and most popular microblogging site in China, deactivated a candle emoticon – formerly used to commemorate deaths reported in the news – when its "rumour control" squad noticed that netizens had begun to adopt it as a symbol of the Tiananmen anniversary, according to the Shanghaiist.
Soon afterward, the Olympic flame emoticon, designed to promote this summer’s games, was deployed as a replacement, and extinguished in turn.
Sina Weibo also blocked access to the search terms “candle” and “never forget,” and to references to the date of the crackdown that took place 23 years ago today such as “six four” (June 4) and “23,” reported The Next Web.