China has blocked Instagram, various media outlets are reporting, after monitoring sites like Blocked in China and Great Fire were unable to access it. The photo-sharing app now joins the likes of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, Vine, Soundcloud, WordPress, and Dropbox, among many others the government has blocked.
Citizens had been sharing images and videos of pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong over the weekend using hashtags #occupycentral and #umbrellarevolution, among others. The ban, which only affects mainland China, denotes Instagram’s ongoing transition to a more mainstream role in online discourse, where real political action can be expressed — and censored. According to a report in the Guardian, the Chinese government has also blocked mainland television broadcasts of the Hong Kong unrest; searches for protest hashtags on Sina Weibo, the country’s largest micro-blogging platform, allegedly turn up only irrelevant results, with some users claiming their accounts have been deleted over Hong Kong content.
The protests followed Beijing’s decision last month to limit proposed voting reforms that would allow Hong Kong citizens to freely elect their next leader. As many as 80,000 demonstrators thronged Hong Kong’s central business district, holding umbrellas and sporting goggles to protect against tear gas. The Chinese government responded with tear gas, pepper spray, and beatings. More than 40 people were injured.
Here’s a glimpse at the demonstrations from Instagram:
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