HTTP/1.1 302 Found Date: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 03:50:05 GMT Server: Apache Set-Cookie: NYT-S=deleted; expires=Thu, 01-Jan-1970 00:00:01 GMT; path=/; domain=www.stg.nytimes.com Set-Cookie: NYT-S=0MgeZ4Jwchn33DXrmvxADeHwgy7kpvuRv9deFz9JchiAIUFL2BEX5FWcV.Ynx4rkFI; expires=Fri, 31-Oct-2014 03:50:05 GMT; path=/; domain=.nytimes.com Location: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/world/asia/chinese-web-censors-struggle-with-hong-kong-protest.html?_r=0 Content-Length: 0 nnCoection: close Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Apache Cache-Control: no-cache Channels: NytNow Content-Type: text/html; charset=utf-8 Transfer-Encoding: chunked Date: Wed, 01 Oct 2014 03:50:05 GMT X-Varnish: 2028857276 2028848862 Age: 147 Via: 1.1 varnish X-Cache: HIT X-API-Version: 5-5 X-PageType: article Connection: close 0027df
- Charles M. Blow
- David Brooks
- Frank Bruni
- Roger Cohen
- Gail Collins
- Ross Douthat
- Maureen Dowd
- Thomas L. Friedman
- Nicholas Kristof
- Paul Krugman
- Joe Nocera
BEIJING â Can Chinese censors vanquish the umbrella?
As protesters in Hong Kong continue to defy the authorities with their demands for greater democracy, mainland Chinaâs politically minded web users have been trying to outmaneuver the invisible army of Internet guardians working to scour social media of photos and news about the continuing demonstrations.
They have been posting pro-democracy remarks on nonpolitical websites and uploading selfies of their shaved heads to express solidarity with the protesters. On Tuesday, some social media users shared stock images of President Xi Jinping carrying an umbrella, a not-so-subtle nod to that essential protester accessory for staving off sun, rain and pepper spray. Other users simply changed their profile photo to that of an umbrella.
Charlie Smith, co-founder of Greatfire.org, a group that tracks Internet censorship in China, said authorities were not likely to relax. âThey are going to be on top of this situation 24/7.â
But there were signs Tuesday that Chinaâs formidable censorship machine was struggling to keep up with savvy commenters who found ways to thumb their noses at the authorities.
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protests have been occupying several areas in Hong Kong since Friday.
On one popular mainland music-sharing site, hundreds of people left supportive comments under a Cantonese ballad, âUnder the Vast Sky,â that has become something of an anthem for protesters. âWithout resistance there is no freedom,â read a typical entry. âGo Hong Kong!â
Fu King-wa, a professor of media studies at Hong Kong University, said the rate of deletions on Sina Weibo, the countryâs most popular microblog service, had jumped in recent days, a testament to the flood of protest-related content and the Communist Partyâs fears that the demonstrations might prove contagious.
Many analysts said the in-house censors employed by Chinese Internet companies like Sina had become more adept at culling material.
On Tuesday, words such as âHong Kong,â âbarricadesâ and âOccupy Central,â the putative name for the civil disobedience campaign, were either blocked or yielded few results on weibo. Sina had also neutralized the word âumbrella.â
Not surprisingly, the governmentâs propaganda apparatus has maintained an iron grip on traditional news outlets, and the majority of Chinese newspapers have ignored the protests.
According to the China Media Project, fewer than two dozen newspapers on Tuesday gave coverage to the events in Hong Kong, with most running an article by the official Xinhua news service that highlighted what it described as the ârecklessnessâ of protesters.
Communist Party officials have vowed in recent years to better âchannel public opinionâ by getting in front of nettlesome news, but propagandists appeared to have been caught off guard by events, said David Bandurski, a researcher at the University of Hong Kong and the editor of the China Media Projectâs website. âThey seem to be completely at a loss as how to handle this,â he said.
Sometimes the censors demonstrated an approach that was at once sophisticated and ham-handed. On Tuesday, CNN broadcasts about the protests were blacked out, but returned abruptly during segments that featured pro-Beijing interview subjects.
Most analysts agree that Chinaâs government will most likely succeed in keeping most of its citizens in the dark, and early signs suggest there will be little tolerance for those who defy the censors.
On Tuesday, the police detained Wang Long, an activist in the southern city of Shenzhen, after he forwarded news about the protests on social media, his lawyer said in an online posting. And in Shanghai, Shen Yanqiu, another dissident, was reportedly taken away by police officers after sending photos of her newly shaved pate, according to the rights defense website weiquanwang.net.
In one photo she posted online, Ms. Shen was shown wearing a T-shirt printed with the words, âWhen the people fear the government, there is tyranny.â
More on nytimes.com
- © 2014 The New York Times Company
- Contact Us
- Work With Us
- Your Ad Choices
- Terms of Service
- Terms of Sale