The Chinese government was in no mood for tolerating social media interference as the June 4 remembrance of the Tiananmen Square incident sparked a mass candlelight vigil in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. The date appears as 6.4 in Chinese script, and social media messages containing references to it un-mysteriously disappeared.
The Official Chinese Position on 6.4
As in previous years, the official position of the People’s Republic was that nothing happened on day 6.4 deserving more than official silence. Behind the scenes, there was clear implied evidence that it wished it could erase the memory entirely from its citizens’ minds. It continues to regard the event as a ‘counter-revolutionary rebellion’, with official history books either skirting around it or ignoring it completely.
However this year the Communist Party mouthpiece Global Times broke ranks to the extent of remarking that ‘even those who took part in the protests as students in 1989 have now reached a consensus that they were naïve and mistaken’ because stability proved more important than protecting the lives of protesters.
Implications of 6.4 for Finance and Media
The embargo extended beyond social media censorship, as far as bouncing money transfers on WeChat of any amount involving the figure 64. Even the official People’s Daily newspaper had a post mentioning the number zapped from Sina Weibo, China’s biggest microblogging site. According to one Hong Kong journalist, the phase 26 years did not fare much better.
Why Global Times Broke Its Silence
According to IB Times the most likely reason is ‘continued anxiety’ on the part of the Communist Party concerning the effectiveness of its patriotic education program. China seems determined to bolster this with increasing interference of the internet. Indeed, the official newspaper of its military organization went as far as describing the web as a ‘battleground‘ where hostile forces were seeking to poison the minds of the young generation against the Communist Party. Not a good day to wish a friend happy 64th on Chinese social media. it seems.