China's censors are blocking words like "today" and "June 4" from social media as part of the country's yearly chore to block any reference to the anniversary to the Tiananmen Square massacre 24 years ago. And though the Chinese are running a sophisticated and tight censorship ship, they're having a bit harder time blocking memes. Yes memes.
It's tradition for the Chinese government to block any references to the Tiananmen Square protests and June 4 massacre, a job which has gotten exponentially more difficult since the Internet and social media came into the picture. Back in 2009, the government was targeting and blocking sites like Flickr, Hotmail, and the Huffington Post because they were afraid those sites would reference the anniversary. That still goes on today as many Chinese websites will, as Tech in Asia reports, go down today because of Chinese censors. June 4 is sarcastically referred to as "Internet Maintenance Day" for all the websites that go offline.
And with the evolution of social media, Chinese censors have evolved too and have learned to block search terms like "today" on their Weibo social media platform:
China's Digital Times has a longer list of the blocked terms which include "fire", "blood" and the date "May 35" which people used to get around the "June 4" censorship. And China's Global Times paper, an arm of the government-run People's Daily newspaper, today ran two editorials praising censorship and how net censorship is "in the public's best interest." (Head on over to Beijing Cream to get an unfiltered view of just how bad the premise of these two editorials are).