Tiananmen Square? What Tiananmen Square?

Apparently not learning the lesson that banning something will only bring more attention to it, the Chinese government is marking the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre by blocking all internet search terms related to the event.

The BBC reports that the government is prepping hard for a change in leadership scheduled for later this year:

“Terms such as ‘six four’, ’23’, ‘candle’ and ‘never forget’, typed in Chinese search engines, do not return any information about the event.

Discussions of the unrest of 4 June 1989 remain taboo in the country.

But some users managed to upload a few pictures on to Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

In 1989, troops shot dead hundreds of pro-democracy protesters gathered in central Beijing.

The demonstrations have never been publicly marked in China, and the government has never said how many were killed.

But human rights groups’ estimates range from several hundred to several thousand killed.”

This did not go unnoticed by the US, where officials released a statement urging the Chinese government to release prisoners still detained after the protest. Which, in turn, did not go unnoticed by China, which issued its own statement telling the American government to shut up. According to CNN:

“At a daily Ministry of Foreign Affairs briefing, spokesman Liu Weimin accused the U.S. government of making baseless allegations and interfering with China’s internal affairs.

‘The U.S. side has been ignoring the facts and issuing such statements year after year, making baseless accusations against the Chinese government and arbitrarily interfering with China’s internal affairs. The Chinese side expresses strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to such acts,’ he said …

The statement came just weeks after relations between the United States and China were strained over Chen Guangcheng, the blind human rights activist who escaped house arrest and sought refuge in the U.S.

Now studying law at a university in New York, Chen claims he and his family suffered ‘beyond imagination’ at the hands of local officials during 18 months of house arrest in his village of Dongshigu in Shandong. Before that, he was imprisoned for four years for ‘damaging property and organizing a mob to disturb traffic’ after campaigning to win more rights for village residents.”

Relations were further strained when a senior official was arrested last week on suspicion of spying for the American government.

What do you think? Will banning Tiananmen Square work? Is it possible to control the internet?

Read more about France, America, China and the world beyond in the latest edition of Carnet Atlantique!

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