NPR : News

Filed Under:

'Today,' 'Tomorrow,' and Nine Other Words You Can't Search For In China

A weird coincidence has led the Chinese government to block certain Internet searches for "Shanghai Composite Index," the country's big stock exchange.

Twenty-three years ago today — June 4, 1989 — the Chinese government began its violent crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square. The Shanghai Stock Exchange fell by 64.89 points on Monday — a number that evokes 6/4/89, the date of the crackdown.

China's censors are always aggressive in blocking searches related to Tiananmen, especially on Twitter-like sites that are popular in China. Basically, the government doesn't want people talking about the Tiananmen crackdown. At all.

The anniversary has led the censors to block even more than usual. Besides "Shanghai Composite Index," the Chinese characters for "today," "tomorrow" and "yesterday" were also blocked. "Candle" a symbol of mourning, is blocked, as is the word "mourn."

When I searched Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, for "today," I got no results. Instead the site gives me a message that roughly translates to, "In accordance with the rules and regulations, 'today' search results have not been displayed."

The censors also block searches for numbers that are components of the date of the crackdown — "six," "four," "eight," "nine," and "23." They block "35," because bloggers used to use "May 35" as a code to get around blocks on "June 4."

The site recommends checking other hot trending Weibo posts instead. It pointed me to one post that says, "Love isn't all that profound — being dependable and a companion leads to the greatest happiness."

China Digital Times, a U.S.-based website, listed more than 100 Tiananmen-related searches that are blocked on Weibo.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

MTV's Rewinding The '90s With A New Channel

The '90s are back! Pokémon has taken over the world again. A Clinton is running for president. And now, MTV is reviving '90s favorites like Beavis and Butt-head on a new channel, MTV Classic.
NPR

Salvage Supperclub: A High-End Dinner In A Dumpster To Fight Food Waste

The ingredients — think wilted basil, bruised plums, garbanzo bean water — sound less than appetizing. Whipped together, they're a tasty meal that show how home cooks can use often-tossed foods.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour – LIVE from Slim's Diner!

This special edition of the Politics Hour is coming to you live from Slim's Diner from Petworth in Northwest D.C.

NPR

Writing Data Onto Single Atoms, Scientists Store The Longest Text Yet

With atomic memory technology, little patterns of atoms can be arranged to represent English characters, fitting the content of more than a billion books onto the surface of a stamp.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.