“Protests in Hong Kong in support of greater autonomy and democracy (dubbed Occupy Central) are heating up and facing a greater crackdown from authorities. Mainland Chinese have not really been preoccupied with the protests until Beijing decided to shut down Instagram.” Not a smart move.
While the exact reason behind the shutdown was not immediately confirmable, it seemed likely that the sudden mainland disruption was linked to the flood of images related to the Hong Kong protests on Instagram.
Using the hashtags #hk, #hongkong, #umbrellamovement and #occupycentral, users have been posting images of support and solidarity, including pictures of a yellow ribbon against a black background and slogans such as, “We cannot keep calm because Hong Kong is dying.”
Chinese authorities, which have not yet reported the protests in major state media, likely do not want such images to be the way mainland netizens learn of the events and China regularly scrubs the Internet of content the government considers potentially destabilizing.
Most mainland Chinese still likely know nothing of the Hong Kong protests, now continuing into the early hours of the morning but you can bet once people start asking why Instagram is down they will learn of the protests and this could backfire on the Chinese government.