(Special Newsy.com Extended Transcript)

June 4th marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests when the Chinese Government took military action against student protestors in what became the bloodiest event of Beijing communist rule.

On the eve of the anniversary, the Chinese Communist Party has instituted a blackout on social media websites, foreign newspapers and broadcast outlets. The Financial Times reported that copies of the International Herald Tribune and the South China Morning Post featuring coverage of Tiananmen were shredded, and that…

“BBC News broadcasts were blacked out in Beijing on Monday night. Last Saturday’s edition of the Financial Times, which contained an interview with Bao Tong, the most prominent Tiananmen-era dissident still residing in China, was either not delivered to subscribers or censored.”

On June 1st Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua published an article detailing the internet’s role in connecting citizens. The South China Morning Post comments on the article…

“Quoting internet censors and government and party officials, the magazine warned the internet "has become a major mobilisation tool and communication channel for some mass incidents" and was another obstacle preventing officials dealing effectively with protests. The article urged local officials to develop new political and technical approaches to tackle such incidents.”

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post went on to suggest that an Internet crackdown would follow the article.

On June 2nd reports surfaced detailing the blockage of Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Bing, and an unusual volume of Chinese social media sites down for maintenance.

The Wall Street Journal’s China blog suggests that there are hundreds of suspicious outages and adds the Chinese Government is not addressing the issue.

It says dictionary site Wordku.com went so far as to post a notice referring “to the period from June 3 to June 5 as ‘Chinese Internet Maintenance Day.’”

The Chinese Media blog Danwei has created an open source list of Internet sites in China that have either been blocked or are conspicuously offline.

The UK’s Guardian speculated as to why Chinese officials would block social media site’s like Twitter,

“While most Chinese internet users rely on domestic services, which are heavily monitored and controlled, Twitter had become hugely popular among an urban elite. They used the site to share information on sensitive issues…”

The suppression of social media sites follows a May 22nd BBC report that China had shutdown or restricted six thousand University-related online discussion boards, noting that many of today’s professors were once student protestors.

“As the 20th anniversary approaches, more and more of those professors…have intentionally or unintentionally mentioned "June 4th" as they lectured, thus greatly increasing attention and discussion of "June 4th" by today's college students.”

The New York Times brings the perspective of dissident Xiao Qiang, a journalist and faculty member at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism...

“In 1989, the voices of those gathered on Tiananmen Square were heard on TV screens by millions around the world. Today, millions of voices express themselves on the Internet, carrying on the demand for democratic reforms that the Tiananmen protesters called for.”

How do you feel about China’s blockage of Internet sites and social media outlets on the eve of the Tiananmen anniversary? Is the Chinese Government’s censorship an example of taking preventative action to avoid violent protest or the suppression of self-expression by Chinese citizens?

Newsy In-Depth Report: China's "Internet Maintenance Day"

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Jun 3, 2009

Newsy In-Depth Report: China's "Internet Maintenance Day"

(Special Newsy.com Extended Transcript)

June 4th marks the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests when the Chinese Government took military action against student protestors in what became the bloodiest event of Beijing communist rule.

On the eve of the anniversary, the Chinese Communist Party has instituted a blackout on social media websites, foreign newspapers and broadcast outlets. The Financial Times reported that copies of the International Herald Tribune and the South China Morning Post featuring coverage of Tiananmen were shredded, and that…

“BBC News broadcasts were blacked out in Beijing on Monday night. Last Saturday’s edition of the Financial Times, which contained an interview with Bao Tong, the most prominent Tiananmen-era dissident still residing in China, was either not delivered to subscribers or censored.”

On June 1st Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua published an article detailing the internet’s role in connecting citizens. The South China Morning Post comments on the article…

“Quoting internet censors and government and party officials, the magazine warned the internet "has become a major mobilisation tool and communication channel for some mass incidents" and was another obstacle preventing officials dealing effectively with protests. The article urged local officials to develop new political and technical approaches to tackle such incidents.”

Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post went on to suggest that an Internet crackdown would follow the article.

On June 2nd reports surfaced detailing the blockage of Twitter, Flickr, Hotmail, Bing, and an unusual volume of Chinese social media sites down for maintenance.

The Wall Street Journal’s China blog suggests that there are hundreds of suspicious outages and adds the Chinese Government is not addressing the issue.

It says dictionary site Wordku.com went so far as to post a notice referring “to the period from June 3 to June 5 as ‘Chinese Internet Maintenance Day.’”

The Chinese Media blog Danwei has created an open source list of Internet sites in China that have either been blocked or are conspicuously offline.

The UK’s Guardian speculated as to why Chinese officials would block social media site’s like Twitter,

“While most Chinese internet users rely on domestic services, which are heavily monitored and controlled, Twitter had become hugely popular among an urban elite. They used the site to share information on sensitive issues…”

The suppression of social media sites follows a May 22nd BBC report that China had shutdown or restricted six thousand University-related online discussion boards, noting that many of today’s professors were once student protestors.

“As the 20th anniversary approaches, more and more of those professors…have intentionally or unintentionally mentioned "June 4th" as they lectured, thus greatly increasing attention and discussion of "June 4th" by today's college students.”

The New York Times brings the perspective of dissident Xiao Qiang, a journalist and faculty member at the UC Berkeley School of Journalism...

“In 1989, the voices of those gathered on Tiananmen Square were heard on TV screens by millions around the world. Today, millions of voices express themselves on the Internet, carrying on the demand for democratic reforms that the Tiananmen protesters called for.”

How do you feel about China’s blockage of Internet sites and social media outlets on the eve of the Tiananmen anniversary? Is the Chinese Government’s censorship an example of taking preventative action to avoid violent protest or the suppression of self-expression by Chinese citizens?

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