A photograph featuring two Chinese female athletes inadvertently alluding to the Tiananmen Square massacre has faced censorship on Chinese social media platforms.
The race numbers assigned to Lin Yuwei and Wu Yanni form the number ’64,’ which is a symbolic reference to the event on June 4th.
Discussing this incident remains a forbidden topic in China, as authorities consistently purge any references to it from the internet. In 1989, troops in Beijing fatally shot hundreds of pro-democracy protesters.
The exact number of casualties from that day remains unclear, with estimates from human rights groups ranging from several hundred to several thousand.
The athletes had embraced each other after competing in a 100m hurdles race at the Asian Games, where Ms. Lin won the gold medal. In the photo, she was wearing lane number 6, next to Ms. Wu’s lane number.
On Weibo, one of China’s primary social media platforms, users had initially posted congratulations to Ms. Lin. However, posts containing the photo were replaced with gray squares.
Interestingly, the photo does not appear to have been completely erased from the internet, as some Chinese news articles still feature it.
China has earned nearly 300 medals in the ongoing Asian Games held in Hangzhou, China, with the event scheduled to continue until October 8th.
Discussion of the events at Tiananmen Square remains a susceptible issue in China. Younger generations often grow up with minimal knowledge of the Tiananmen Square massacre, as related posts are regularly removed from the tightly government-controlled internet.
In a notable incident last year, a popular Chinese influencer’s live stream, which took place on the eve of the 33rd anniversary of the massacre, abruptly ended after he displayed a vanilla log cake resembling a tank—a reference to the iconic image of the “Tank Man,” depicting a civilian with shopping bags standing in front of a line of tanks, attempting to block their path.