Tiananmen Square: Duck Memes Posted To Get Past Chinese Censors On 24th Anniversary

Why Has China Banned The Phrase 'Big Yellow Duck'?

Chinese authorities have imposed a traditional social media blackout on the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests - but China's "netizens" have come up with creative of remembering the massacre.

Some Weibo and Twitter users dubbed the anniversary "National Amnesia Day", and certain words have been banned from the Chinese microblogging site, including the words "remember", "today", "tonight", "June 4" and "Big Yellow Duck".

The big yellow duck ban is in reference to a parody of the iconic image of the tanks rolling into the square in central Beijing, with the tanks replaced by big yellow ducks, akin to the current installation of yellow ducks in Hong Kong harbour.

The duck parody of the iconic Tiananmen Square picture of a man confronting the tanks

The original image of a lone demonstrator standing down a column of tanks in 1989 after Chinese troops fired upon pro-democracy students

"Candle" and "black shirt" have also been banned, as rumours spread that people have been asked to wear black as they go about their normal business today, as a sign of remembrance, or light a candle at home.

Candle emoticons are also banned. The South China Morning Post, which has been running a live blog on events, reported that the candle "emoticon" was briefly replaced by a gun symbol, before being censored.

Known as the "June 4" incident in Chinese, the student-led demonstrations in 1989 were brutally suppressed by the military, resulting in an unprecedented massacre of protesters.

No death toll has ever been officially released by estimates range from several hundred to a thousand dead.

Other memes posted on Weibo on the anniversary of Tiananmen Square

Weibo users have used clever tactics to evade automatic censors in the past, referring to the 35th of May, instead of 4th of June.

That phrase has been banned this year for the first time, but the number "64" was top of the trends at one stage.

A lego version of the famous scene, posted on Weibo

Other memes have been doing the rounds, including a lego version of the iconic photo, and one image of a preying mantis attempting to climb a car tyre.

A praying mantis, struggling against a tyre, has become a popular meme

China Digital Times reported that Weibo users were posting the photo with the slogan: “Don’t you know about the praying mantis that waved its arms angrily in front of an approaching carriage,” warned the philosopher Zhuangzi, “unaware that they were incapable of stopping it?”

A picture posted on Weibo as part of the Tiananmen Square commemorations

Several other Weibo users posted pictures of themselves, covering their mouths.

And 'We Live In Beijing" posted the tank picture, with both man and tanks erased, with the caption: "We were told it was all fake. Move along, there is nothing to see."

A picture posted on 'We Live In Beijing' to mark the anniversary of the massacre"

Chinese police are stationed outside the Wanan graveyard, ostensibly preventing families from visiting the graves of the protesters killed.

The US state department said in a statement to mark the anniversary: "We renew our call for China to protect the universal human rights of all its citizens; release those who have been wrongfully detained, prosecuted, incarcerated, forcibly disappeared, or placed under house arrest; and end the ongoing harassment of human rights activists and their families."

People attend a candlelight vigil under heavy rain at Hong Kong's Victoria Park

Several different commemorations were held in Hong Kong.

Tens of thousands of people attend a candlelight vigil in heavy rain at Victoria Park and students at the University of Science and Technology erected a paper sculpture of a tank.

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