China's Online Firefighters Snuff Discussion on Tiananmen Anniversary
Posted in: Censorship at 04/06/2012 20:56
A snippet from a classical poem about the pain of bidding goodbye to loved ones has experienced an unexpected resurgence in China roughly 12 centuries after it was written.
The poem's author, Li Shangyin, has censors at China's most talked-about social media site to thank for his posthumous return to prominence.
In what may rank among the most scholarly mini-memes ever to take hold on the Chinese Internet, users of Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo on Sunday began repeatedly posting the following two couplets from one of the entries in Li's "No Title" series:
Hard it was for us to meet, and hard to part,
Now the east wind is languid and all the flowers wither.
A spring silkworm spins its thread until its dying day,
A candle's tears do not dry until it has burned down to ash.
The reason for the sudden embrace of Li's wistful goodbye: A decision by Sina Weibo to disable its 'candle' icon over the weekend -- one of a wide variety of steps the service has taken over the past two days in an apparent effort to stop users from commenting on the 23rd anniversary of the June 4th 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protestors.