China’s authorities censored online footage of a protest against Xi Jinping days before his ruling party’s twice-a-decade congress event, The Guardian reported.
Photos and videos of signs stretched across Beijing’s Sitong bridge emerged on Twitter on Thursday, stamped with a large red message for the eyes of passing traffic.
“We want freedom, not lockdowns. We want a vote, not a leader. We want reform, not a cultural revolution,” one banner said, accompanied by a booming megaphone and pile of smoke.
Another banner called for strikes and the removal of Xi.
Sitong Bridge, Haidian District, Beijing, a man displayed banners and shouted slogans against Xi Jinping. He had been arrested and voice disappeared, but maybe in the future, everyone who crosses this bridge will remember that there was once a man…#TheGreatTranslationMovement pic.twitter.com/Fr20sF9XFK
— The Great Translation Movement 大翻译运动官方推号 (@TGTM_Official) October 13, 2022
Online discussion about the event was later removed and put behind Beijing’s “great firewall”, the Guardian reported, with China media app WeChat suspending the accounts of those who had been sharing footage of the event on Twitter.
WeChat also blocked keyword searches related to the incident, including “Sitong Bridge”, “Beijing”, “brave” and the hashtag “I saw it,” The Straits Times said, restricting their use to verified ‘blue tick’ accounts.
— 中国数字时代 (@CDTChinese) October 13, 2022
The event comes days after the head of Britain’s cyber-intelligence agency Jeremy Fleming said China is using its tech powers to clamp down on its own citizens and “rewrite the rules of international security.”
Chinese state media Global Times described Fleming as ‘talking rubbish‘ in a way that reveals his own ‘hooligan nature’.
The country’s Communist Party national congress will commence this Sunday, with Xi Jinping expected to sign on for a third term.
- by Alfie Habershon