June 4th 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests. If you turned on the TV or checked social media that day you probably would have seen something about the somber occasion, unless of course you were actually in China. In the years since the protests the Chinese government has been trying to stop the spread of information within the country about the event by censoring newspapers and television. With the increasing prevalence of social media sites, like the Chinese language microblogging site Weibo, the Chinese government has had to double down on their efforts. Our analysts noticed that Weibo posts referring to the anniversary of Tiananmen Sqaure were disappearing in the days leading up June 4th.
Vocativ went to China to see what the average Chinese citizen knew about the protest. We quickly found that very few young people had any idea that it even happened. If these young people aren’t taught about it in school and the state run censors block almost all mentions of the event, the internet, despite the governments efforts to censor it, might be the only way to keep the memory of the Tiananmen Square protests alive in China.