Today is World Press Freedom Day but instead of celebrating the freedom of the press, Chinese netizens have decided to mark the “Tweet Deletion Festival” (删帖节) because the date 5-3 sounds like “I delete” (“我删”) in Chinese.
Indeed, on Sina Weibo and on all other major microblogging platforms, all keywords related to the topic du jour — “Chen Guangcheng”, “embassy” and “Chaoyang Hospital” to name a few — were blocked, and posts on the ongoing saga were quickly deleted.
Here are a few tweets handpicked and translated by Shanghaiist:
Author Murong Xuecun (@慕容雪村):
Yesterday I sent out a few tweets on Tencent Weibo, and this morning when I woke up, I found I could not log into my account anymore. It just so happens that today is World Press Freedom Day. Time to celebrate.
My one wish for this World Press Freedom Day is that tweets will never be deleted on the internet. In 1991, UNESCO passed a resolution to promote press freedom around the world. The resolution recognises that a free, diverse and independent press is a must-have for any democratic society. On 20 Dec 1993, the UN General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day. If China is to be a democratic country with rule of law, it should follow suit.
我的一个梦想：在今天这个世界新闻自由日里，微博不删帖。1991年联合国教科文大会作出了“促进世界新闻自由的决议”，承认自由、多元化和独立的新闻是任何民主社会必不可少的组成部分。1993年12月20日联合囯大会决定5月3日为世界新闻自由日。中国是一个民主法治囯家 ,理当如此 。
United Nations (official Sina Weibo account):
The theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day is “New Voices: Media Freedom Helping to Transform Societies.” A free press can provide people with the information that they need for the biggest decisions that they will make in life. It can question the authorities, expose corruption, and promote transparency in policy-making. It can help people to understand issues, and it can give voice to different voices, particularly those that would otherwise be unheard.