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Screens go blank as Hong Kong election news censored in China


Chantal Yuen  |  Hong Kong Free Press

Censored post on Weibo. (Weibo)

According to Aljazeera news: “Official results for most constituencies show that pro-democracy candidates have won at least 27 seats – three more than required for the power to block attempts by the Hong Kong government to enact unpopular or controversial legislation.”

As Hong Kong is heading to the polls in the most important election since the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests several Weibo posts related to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council election have been deleted, according to the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre’s Weiboscope. Meanwhile, the channel BBC World has also gone black during the reporting of Hong Kong’s election in China, according to the BBC China editor Carrie Gracie.

Carrie Gracie posted on Twitter: “In Hangzhou, no Great Firewall block on internet for foreigners, but HK election day censored on TV. BBC World going to black.”

While terms related to the election are searchable in Weibo’s search function, some posts relating to voting were censored by the social media site, which functions like Twitter.

The China Media Project found that a post from Luqiu Luwei, a Chinese journalist who was formerly at Phoenix TV, was censored after being published at around 11:30pm at night.

The post said “Voting ends at 10:30 at night. By 8:30pm 1.8 million people had voted, equalling half of all eligible voters. This is the queue at different polling stations before the deadline [to vote]. Next time, should they go out earlier?” It was coupled with an aerial view of a queue outside a polling station.

There were also two other deleted posts which mentioned the long queues, according to Weiboscope. However, despite the similarities, it is unclear what exactly caused the Weibo posts to be censored as many are still viewable online.

James Griffiths, of CNN, spotted that China Daily has not updated its Hong Kong edition of its website since election results began trickling in on Monday morning.

This election saw a record voter turnout rate of around 58 per cent, the highest since 2004, as voters queued late into the night to cast their ballots.

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