Thursday, 7 Dec 2023

China has blocked this picture over 'secret nod to Tiananmen Square massacre'

This is the photograph of two athletes hugging that China does not want the world to see.

Lin Yuwei and Wu Yanni, the country’s entrants in the women’s 100m hurdles final, embraced after the race at the 19th Asian Games in the city of Hangzhou.

Lin won gold in the race with a time of 12.74 seconds, qualifying for the Olympics in the process.

What was meant to be a victorious moment for athletics in China appears to have become another instance of political censorship at work.

As Lin and Wu stood side by side, the stickers showing their lane numbers formed ‘6 4’, a pairing seen as a reference to the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 4, 1989.

Users had congratulated Lin on Weibo, but posts including the photograph were replaced with grey squares.

One social media influence shared a screengrab of the grey square on Twitter and added: ‘On October 1, during the women’s 100-meter hurdles final of track and field at the Hangzhou Asian Games, Chinese athletes Lin Yuwei and Wu Yanni hugged and encouraged each other.

‘However, because the numbers of the two people in the photo formed “June 4”, the photo was clipped on the wall.

‘At present, there are only a few photos from a few media outlets that have not been banned.’

More than 34 years have passed since the protests at the famous square in Beijing turned into bloodshed.

Pro-democracy protests had been growing for weeks before the government brought them to a violent end – leading to the infamous ‘Tank Man’ photo which was seen all round the world as the country’s leaders attempted to take back control.

The official death toll given by China was 241 but it is believed thousands were killed.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands were arrested for peacefully calling for reform and an end to corruption.

The Chinese government have never acknowledged what actually happened and has never issued an apology for the tragedy; there are also no official events to commemorate the date.

Even today, reposting images from the protest on social media can get a person detained. representing the deep lengths the regime would go to to silence any mention of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

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