“”Tiananmen Square” and “Zhao Ziyang” No Longer Censored on China’s Internet?”

NDT on something that people have been noticing over the last few days– it looks like a number of formerly blocked topics and websites are (at least temporarily) unblocked in China:

On Tuesday morning, many Chinese netizens discovered that the search term “Zhao Ziyang” appears in Baidu Encyclopedia, a web-based Chinese encyclopedia.

Baidu Encyclopedia, together with the Baidu search engine, is heavily self-censored. But now, when the politically sensitive search terms “Zhao Ziyang” or “June Fourth” are entered into Baidu search engine, more than one million results show up.

Zhao Ziyang served as the Premier of People’s Republic of China from 1980 to 1987, and the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee from 1987 to 1989. He is most known in the West for his supportive stance towards the student democracy movement. In 1989, he spoke to students at Tiananmen Square just before the massacre. That would be his last public appearance, as he spent the rest of his life under house arrest.

In China, the Tiananmen Square massacre is known as the “June Fourth” incident, and mention of it is taboo.

On Tuesday night, Sina Weibo netizens started buzzing on this issue, and the discussion post was shared over two thousand times in just a couple of hours. Over 500 people commented on it.

Pu Fei from Tianwang Human Rights Center said that the appearance of politically sensitive words on the Internet doesn’t mean that Internet censorship is likely to decrease or come to an end.

I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s already been changed back, but based on a ChinaSmack post from today it looks like a few more social networking sites have also been unblocked. Odd.


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