Candles censored


Many Weibo users have shared screenshots of this tribute by Hong Kong's Apple Daily newspaperImage copyright
APPLE DAILY

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Many Weibo users have shared screenshots of this tribute by Hong Kong’s Apple Daily newspaper

The confirmed death of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo has sent shockwaves around the world, but in mainland China, there is media silence.

Official media have yet to comment on Liu’s death, and social media users have noticed attempts from the government censors to mute reaction online.

Thousands of users are aware of his death, however, and have found creative ways to post tributes.

‘Results cannot be displayed’

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BAIDU

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Chinese search engine Baidu says the last news article mentioning Mr Liu was in February

Mr Liu was China’s most influential dissident and his death has made headlines around the world.

But leading state news organs such as People’s Daily and CCTV have yet to respond to Mr Liu’s death.

A news search of “Liu Xiaobo” on leading Chinese search engine Baidu brings up no domestic press mentions of Mr Liu since February.

On social media, it is very much the same story. A search on the popular Sina Weibo microblog brings up a message saying “according to relevant laws and policies, results for ‘Liu Xiaobo’ cannot be displayed”.

‘Even RIP is being deleted’

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SINA WEIBO

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‘TobyandElias’ says that Weibo admins are busy deleting RIP messages

Many apparently innocuous comments from influential users appear to have been deleted from Sina Weibo.

Xu Xin – a user with 31 million followers – posted a few candle emojis, which have been removed.

People often use candle emojis on Weibo to commemorate someone who has died.

TobyandElias‘ wrote: “Weibo is really busy tonight – things are constantly being deleted. Even R…I…P is being deleted”

‘Free at last’

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SINA WEIBO

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Thousands of Weibo users have posted tributes

Weibo users have used creative ways to show their condolences and bypass the censors.

Some have posted screengrabs of image tributes that they have seen on Twitter and Instagram, platforms which are blocked in mainland China.

Some also post links to songs as tributes. ‘AlwaysABadCard‘ links to the lyrics page of a song called “No one knows where we will go tomorrow”. It describes being “locked in a cage” and hoping “that tomorrow will be better”.

As censors often scrape for simplified Chinese words, ‘urKARINA‘ uses traditional characters to write her message instead. “Thank you for your courage. You are free at last,” she says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitterand Facebook.


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