Instagram, other social media, being blocked in China amid protests in Hong Kong

Instagram, other social media, being blocked in China amid protests in Hong Kong
Reports are coming out of Hong Kong and mainland China that Facebook subsidiary, Instagram, is being blocked in China by the government while it contends with political protests in the city.

Other social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, and even Chinese site Weibo are also blocked. Following a number of “occupy” type hashtags, these demonstrations nothing like the movements that sprouted up in the US a couple years ago.

When Hong Kong was ceded by the United Kingdom to China in 1997, the idea was that there would be two systems at work, ensuring Hong Kong’s continued autonomy as a “special administrative region.” However, political events of late have prompted a number of reform movements in Hong Kong, and tensions have flared to point of police starting to crack down on the protestors.

While those in China are not able to pick up their smartphones and check out their favorite pictures, or get updates on what is going on, all the social media networks appear to still be fully functional for those in Hong Kong. The majority of social media activity has been tagged #occupycentral, which has nearly 9,000 photos attributed on Instagram.

Despite largely peaceful demonstration, police have disbursed some of the protestors with tear gas. At the crux of the issue is a ruling that Communist party in Beijing will limit those that can be considered for a leadership post in Hong Kong. The block of social media on the mainland is to prevent any democracy movements from gaining traction elsewhere in the country. The last major movement in mainland China was the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 which resulted in clashes with the People’s Liberation Army, and thousands killed and injured.

sources: Reuters (Yahoo!) and TechinAsia

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22 Comments

1. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

WTF? Even their own Weibo is blocked as well? Oh China, why you gotta be so rude?

2. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

They don't want their citizens to know the truth. Otherwise, the rulers will be hanging from the end of a rope. Truth and tyranny are not compatible.

8. ffffll

Posts: 14; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

if more people know the truth, it will be worse for there are more people in mainland China. For u foreigners, what will you do with this stuff? To join the mess or to protect the safety and freedom of the majority?

3. amats69

Posts: 1527; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

They want to be like north Korea.

4. shikhar

Posts: 28; Member since: Aug 14, 2011

The internet is terribly restricted in China. You can't even rely on premium VPNs to serve you to their fullest in the country. Heck, if you end up accessing foreign based sites in China a bit more than normal (either unrestricted sites like Outlook normally, or restricted sites like google through VPN), you can rest assured that your network speed would inexplicably go down from an mbps to merely a single kbps of speed. Chinese based social networking applications like wechat haven't been working too reliably either, maybe because I am using it from India or it's just a phase. So, IMO, you can't expect to have a global network with the Chinese citizens; which is sad, because the people over there are extremely warm and friendly.

10. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

you are located in India? recently there is a under ocean optic cable broke. Caused internet speed slow down in most countries in Asia.

13. shikhar

Posts: 28; Member since: Aug 14, 2011

Yes, I am located in India, having just returned from China. It is an amazing country btw. Your point about optic cable may be the true reasoning, albeit that the internet has otherwise been working normally. On a side note, being the resident of a democratic country where the democracy itself is often manipulated, it has been a revealing experience to understand the pros and, mostly, cons of the systems both in China and India.

5. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

The protests were hardly "largely peaceful". Did your news show how the protesters shoved police? Threw objects at them and blocking roads? The amount of money our+their beloved Hong Kong have to spend to keep them in order? How they littered everywhere and caused a major mess? Oh, let's not forget the amount of businesses that are forced to be closed thanks to their "peaceful" demonstration. And all of this for what? A so called democracy that was never part of Hong Kong's history to begin with? Say when, in Britain's 99 or so years jurisdiction over Hong Kong, were we allowed to choose our governor? China gave us an option to nominate candidates for the 2017 election and yet the occupy central folk flung insults at them virtually calling them pigs who can't be trusted. How then, can there be constructive negotiations if figuring out a solution that is mutually beneficial isn't at all on their agenda? Oh no Hong Kong is over! Get real people. China has numerous investments in Hong Kong and if they didn't at all care there wouldn't be any developments of any sort.

14. Gawain

Posts: 441; Member since: Apr 15, 2010

Yeah, Beijing is just a benevolent bystander in all this. Spoken like a 20-something that has no concept of history, and cannot grasp how many people have been wiped out at the hands of revolutionaries in China since the first "Cultural Revolution" 100 million+ dude...and counting.

15. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Ironically, it's the young generation who believe Britain was the ones who made Hong Kong as great as is (when it was really our own previous generation citizens through their dedication and hard work) that caused all the havoc. Also, I find it hilarious how you simply presumed China is still like what they were years ago. Have you experienced it first-hand (aka not rely on biased media that has their own hidden agenda) say in the last ten years? Lemme guess. You are still convinced there is gender inequality in the more civilised parts of the country. Don't mean to be rude to you guys but look at how "good" the US is today. They were formed by the basis of being just and the epitome of human rights but yet since 9/11 completely lost their direction and became a laughing stock of what they once stood for.

16. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

If it weren't for the Communist Party, the Japanese invaders would have f***ed up a lot more people and taken over the entire country as the Nationalist army was completely useless in most cases. I think most Chinese people would rather starve to death or die in resistance rather than be massacred by foreigners.

17. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

I'd give credit where it's due... the Allies helped Hong Kong+China immensely during the troubled times.

18. knzzz

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

@Chuck007 I am not sure if you are reading the news about the protest frequently, or what news you are reading. First, about your comment on peaceful, I was watching live in the whole day of 28/9. I can't see any protesters shoving police or throwing objects at them, rather they were just coming from everywhere to support the students in near the government headquarter. When more and more ppl come, will you ask them to leave becoz there is not enough space? or will you ask the police to extend the restricted area? Indeed, the protesters were really calm. Whenever there was someone (protester) trying to threaten the peaceful, others stopped him immediately. But what the police did is to use excess violence to deal with them. I have found a article about that day for you, hope you agree business insider is not one of the "biased media". Please Google businessinsider.com hong-kong-protests-2014-9 (I just registered so not allowed to post link) Look at the youtube clip inside. How violence was the elderly, comparing to the police? I have to mention again, the protesters did not do anything like shoving the police. They just sat down. Without any violence by them, how could the police throw tear gas to them? Second, election was not given by China, it was agreed back in 1984 by Joint Declaration of UK and PRC. People believed that "Election" here means free of choice of candidates. No filtering would be applied based on the political view of a person. But what Chinese gov gave us is such a election. Candidates are nominated by a 1,200-ppl committee for election. Inside this committee most of them are pro-Chinese gov and are not elected by people, it is constructed by a small group of people who have great interests with China. We, the citizens, want the REAL election, with free choice of candidate. This campaign was aimed to this, not anti-government. We want to a open face-to-face negotiation with Chief Executive, but he hasn't shown up since the protest. Who blocks the channel of constructive negotiations? Why he always scared of a public discussion with our representative? Hong Kong has been worse since 1997, not in the way of economy (although it is still worse), is in the way of living condition. Hundreds thousands of Mainlanders come every year. Making many goods' prices rise literally, like house, milk powder, and even iphone. We want to change this situation, or we will suffer forever. P.S. You mentioned they littered everywhere. Do you know there are volunteers cleaning the area everyday and make sure the area is clean? If you have been there like me, you will be impressed on how discipline Hong Kongers are.

19. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Thanks very insightful... No pun intended. Of course this is a public forum and I respect your views. But a couple things I want to point out: 1) Protestors cursing at police at Mongkok, throwing bottles at them 2) Umbrellas used to shove against the face of police officers 3) Blocking of major roads and districts, loud antics making the lives of people who commute and more so reside there a living hell 4) These people showing absolutely no respect for their country and their general mentality of Beijing being the devil (thus chances of negotiations becoming increasingly slim) and being verbal about it 5) The belief of protestors being the representatives of all Hong Kong 6) Structuring the protests like a war (subjective but I have to put that in there lol) To be fair though, given the situation both sides ought to make outrageous mistakes. Be it illogical or completely wrong judgement/approach. What I find the most sad about the whole ordeal is that there won't be any sort of resolution anytime soon. Like it or not Hong Kong is part of China and the sooner everyone is generally happy the better.

20. knzzz

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

I also respect your comments since my purpose is to get everyone here clear about views from both sides. To emphasize, the aim is to request a election with freedom of choices to citizens. Again, here are my comments: 1) Mongkok incidence was only happened once afaik, and was disagreed by most of the protesters. They are believed to be gangsters, where it was one of the big concern about the protest, having them involved. I think other people there has tried their best to persuade others not to do anything violence to police. We have no right to ask them to leave as they are also HK citizens who could express themselves freely. 2) Umbrella was used to protect the protesters from pepper spray. Front-line police officer pulled out protesters' umbrellas and threw it into their back, such that the spray could affect the protesters. 3) I can't agree that people showed no respect to the country. People do respect their country, but absolutely not the Communist Party of China, aka the government, becoz of her every means towards HK and even their own citizens (No freedom, blocking social media, etc.). They are different. 4) No one could represent others. I am with you that they are not representing all Hong Kong. Poll could be one of them solution to let everyone express his view on the reform. It is a very critical issue on HK's future. But since the beginning it has not been happened. I don't know why the HK government did not do that. 5) I think the core of the problem is that how can you be satisfied with such a election, without true and real democracy? Why the HK/Chinese gov is so afraid of letting HK citizens to choose? I just want to have my future on my hands. WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR INDEPENDENCE. If you like to know more on the protest, read articles from BBC/CNN. They are fair enough.

21. Chuck007

Posts: 1411; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

Respect for being level minded in expressing your beliefs. I am now inclined to agree with points 1-4, but not so much 5. Prior to the whole ordeal (heck even before the article 23 fiasco) people were showing their increased support in hot headed (some might say uncivilised) parties like People's Power. With so many people on their side (which in part I agree is due to democracy and communism not at all being compatible), Beijing can not take the risk in allowing these people to become governor. Pretty much akin to western countries never allowing communist powers in government. Once they take over, there is always the fear they'd attempt to split from the mother country's sovereignty.

22. knzzz

Posts: 3; Member since: Sep 29, 2014

I am glad to hear you start to agree some of my views. I really understand what and why Beijing is worrying. I really hope this protest would not be labeled as anti-Beijing activity. And I think most of the protesters would think the same. You are right that a leader who asks for independence may enter the election. But it is still minority and he could not win, at least for next few centuries. IMO one who is truly willing to express all views from HK citizens and negotiate with the Chinese gov would be the best candidate. And if Beijing would release more authority and freedom to Hong Kong, people will not try to threaten Beijing. This is similar to the case in Scotland. No one knows what will be next. It would be difficult to predict. Hope peaceful remains in this campaign and the government could response in a meaningful way, at least holding a public discussion. Anyways, thanks for expressing your views gently and you really make me think deeper on the situation.

7. xeonfire

Posts: 94; Member since: Feb 15, 2014

Like you really know what's going on in Hong Kong and China...some comments here are mere obscure personal opinions because you really don't know , and the reality is far from what you imagine...

9. newuser1

Posts: 276; Member since: Dec 10, 2010

Sounds like you don't really understand what's really going on in Hong kong.

12. xeonfire

Posts: 94; Member since: Feb 15, 2014

I know what's really going on...i said SOME comments not ALL comments are personal opinions because they are the one who doesn't know what democracy stand for to people in Hong Kong...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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