Tanki online

Words are disappearing from the Chinese language – online at least

On October 13, days before the scheduled meeting for the fifth year of the Chinese Communist Party Congress, Peng Lifa (online, Peng Zaizhou) stood on an overpass in Beijing – dressed as a construction worker – and said unfurled two banners demanding an end to zero-COVID policies and the removal of Xi Jinping as CCP leader. With security cameras everywhere, he was sure to be noticed. There was also an apparent tire fire on deck, which created lots of captivating smoke.

The the stakes are important:

Such an incident is embarrassing for Xi, who is set to secure an unprecedented third five-year term at the next party congress. Held every five years, the meeting is due to begin on October 16 in Beijing, during which the next round of senior management will also be unveiled.

Dissidents and petitioners have previously told The Epoch Times that since September, police have appeared on local streets, guarding their homes day and night.

With the crucial political meeting days away, it is highly unusual for protests to erupt across the country, particularly in the political hub of Beijing, where a citywide mass surveillance system has been installed since 2015. According to Comparitech, a UK-based cybersecurity website, around 7.9 million surveillance cameras monitor the city around the clock.

Dorothee LiRare protest against Xi appears in Beijing days before CCP congress” at period time (October 14, 2022)

Extensive social media censorship was put in place to clean up the event of people’s minds:

He maximized the impact he could have within minutes and managed to grab attention and get his messages across: photos and video clips circulated widely on Chinese social media before censorship entered in force. Sitong Overpass, Peng Zaizhou, Peng Lifa, Haidian, brave man, Third Ring Road North, bridge + fire, banner +) deletion and suspension. WeChat is rumored to have blocked 600,000 accounts for posting photos or commenting on the Sitong Overpass incident in Beijing. A journalist reported that his account had been suspended for 60 days for simply saying “I saw it”.

China ChangeIdentity of man who successfully protested Beijing overpass amid unprecedented security ahead of CCP congress” at China Change (October 13, 2022)

China Change reports that Peng is an engineer with published papers:

Peng has a background in physics and published an article, which he tweeted, on the electromagnetic force in Science and Technology Innovation Herald (科技创新导报), a state aerospace publication, as recently as 2021. Interestingly, on the researchgate.net website where his paper is available online, he has a label that reads: “Committee for Universal Suffrage of the People’s Republic of China”.

He is also a partner in a company called Beijing Melon Network Technology Co., Ltd. (北京甜瓜网络科技有限公司) which sells acrylic products.

China ChangeIdentity of man who successfully protested Beijing overpass amid unprecedented security ahead of CCP congress” at China Change (October 13, 2022)

China Change the staff fear that he will be severely tortured and die in prison. He is seen as another tank man – no one knows what happened to the iconic man who took on the tanks, though theories abound.

If you lived in China, it would indeed be difficult for you to get information about what happened except by secret word of mouth:

Additional sensitive words added to the regime’s already extensive online censorship efforts.

In addition to the words and phrases on the banners, expressions such as Sitong Bridge, Beijing, Haidian (the district), banners, brave man and courage have been censored on Chinese social media platforms…

The phrase “I saw it!” was also banned on Chinese social media, after people started using it to refer to the protest…

A song titled “Sitong Bridge” has also been removed from Chinese online music platforms, according to The Associate Press on Thursday.

Sophie LamBeijing hastily recruits more security, tightens censorship of ‘Bridge Man’ protest ahead of party congress” at period time (October 15, 2022)

In the same way, of Chinese digital time,

Weibo also banned the #Beijing hashtag. Douyin, TikTok’s Chinese sister app, limited search results for “Beijing” to government-affiliated accounts. Searches for “Sitong Bridge” returned almost no results on Weibo, Zhihu, Douban and Baidu. In at least one case, sharing an image of the protest in a WeChat group resulted in a 24-hour ban from the group chat and Moments features of the platform. QQ Music has deleted all comments under No Party For Cao Dong’s song “The Brave One.” Apple Music removed the song “Sitong Bridge” from its Chinese streaming service and Baidu removed a page about the song from its digital encyclopedia. CDT’s Eric Liu, a former censor, pointed out that the intensity of this round of censorship rivaled, if not surpassed, the fight that followed Peng Shuai’s accusation that former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli , had sexually assaulted her.

Alexander BoydBeijing Bridge protest pulled from web as censorship tightens ahead of party congress ” at China digital time (October 13, 2022)

A popular song of 2014 on Beijing Bridges was also banned from all Chinese media because in one rendition it was dubbed with images believed to be of Peng Lifa added:

The curious thing is that if you knew all the words and music that were suddenly banned, you could easily guess the nature of the event. It is an eternal pitfall of censorship of any kind.

Local authorities do not stop there. They hire temporary security guards to monitor all the bridges in Beijing.

The incident is considered internationally as tarnish Xi’s picture (Washington Post, October 14) even if he gets the five-year extension he is asking for.

Here is a compilation of images from different angles of Chinese digital time:

You can also read: China Covid Theatre: It’s not really about the disease. Not exactly. As the XX National Congress looms, the Chinese Communist Party does not want COVID in Beijing. Despite strict censorship, the suffering of Chinese people under the zero-Covid policy is increasingly well known.