Chinese censors have reportedly been working extra hard to make sure content related to the Hong Kong rallies does not spread on Chinese social media platforms.
California-based website China Digital Times, which monitors Chinese censorship, revealed that Chinese authorities ordered the media to purge images related to the Hong Kong protests.
Even the simplest terms or phrases that imply support to the demonstrations are censored online, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Activists have been trying to keep ahead of censors by sharing videos and photos on mainland social media chat groups.
However, this has not been effective as China’s AI technology can now monitor and censor in real time. Even images that are captioned differently to avoid automated detection get taken down eventually.
Wechat has censored pictures of the protest in HK. Chinese people have no idea what’s going on just across the border #返送中 pic.twitter.com/8EQXvvcnZq
— Pak Yiu (@pakwayne) June 12, 2019
Chinese authorities have since been controlling the narrative in China, describing the protests as chaotic riots and violent events.
Local media platforms have portrayed it to be under heavy influence from foreigners who intend to undermine Hong Kong and destroy China’s “one country, two systems” policy.
One headline from the state-run China Daily even did a write-up on a few dozen protesters outside the U.S. Consulate instead of the two marches that drew over 1 million protesters.
The headline read: “HK parents march against US meddling.”
Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of Global Times, wrote on Weibo
to explain that the extradition bill is “normal legislature behavior,”
adding that the protest was started by opposition groups “maliciously stirring things up with support from the West.”
Ironically, Hu’s posts provided a sort of outlet for netizens who have been wanting to give their opinion on the matter.
Some users also pointed out that they only heard about the protest through Hu’s posts, according to Abacus News
“Why do I feel like Hu is working undercover?” one Weibo user wrote in a deleted comment. “Only a few people knew at first. Now millions more know since seeing Hu’s post, and they will surely go look on Google.”
Hu’s interpretation of events also meant nothing to other netizens.
“There is a firewall, anyway,” one commenter wrote. “Boss Hu can make up whatever he wants!”
“Thousands of lawyers in Hong Kong who know a bit more about law went out in the streets. Boss Hu should educate them about the law,” another said in jest.
“Looks like millions of Hong Kong people are fools and are too easily manipulated,” read another sarcastic reply. “Millions of people don’t know as well as Boss Hu! How wise of Boss Hu!”
“Hu now holds the information high ground,”
said one commenter. “For us inside the wall, you are our eyes and mouth, whatever you say is true!”
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