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Tiananmen Square 24th Anniversary: Bloggers Use Ducks To Get Past Web Blackout

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Giant ducks, tractors and a preying mantis in front of a car tire—just a few memes circulating around the Chinese blogging site Sina Weibo today, on the 24th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests.

Bloggers and social media users in China are finding ways around the government's blackout of search terms related to the massive student-led protest held on June 4, 1989.

The demonstration was brutally crushed by the Chinese military. It's unknown how many people died, as there was never an official death toll, but estimates range from several hundred to a thousand.

The government has blocked terms such as "today," "tomorrow," "special day" and numbers such as 24 and 35, both spelled out and numerical, from search results on Weibo.

"Candle" and "black shirt" are also blacked out, referring to rumours that people should wear black or light a candle to mark the anniversary.

Weibo users responded by making parodies. The iconic photo of a man standing in front of government tanks has been made into a meme, with the tanks replaced by large inflatable ducks and Lego. The duck refers to the 54-foot tall one currently floating in Hong Kong's harbour.


tiananman square tanks

duck tiananmen

Another image shows a cow standing in front of tractors.


cow weibo

Weibo "netizens" also acted quickly after a candle emoticon was deleted from the site by adding one of a Type-64 pistol, a gun associated with Chinese military officials.


tiananmen square

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend a yearly vigil in Hong Kong Tuesday night to remember the protest, reports the South China Morning Post.

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