China has always been efficient when it comes to scrubbing sensitive words and numbers from the web in the days leading up to June 4, but it seems that its censors have gone above and beyond this year, as even WeChat money transfers containing numbers related to the Anniversary That Shall Not Be Named refuse to go through.
Attempts in Beijing to transfer money values containing “64” — a reference to the June 4 date when soldiers and tanks dispersed pro-democracy demonstrators — and “89” via Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat app were unsuccessful on Wednesday night.
Instead, WeChat’s “red envelope” function showed a text box saying “Transaction error. Try again later.” when users tried to send amounts including 89 yuan and 6.4 yuan. Transfers not containing the sensitive numbers went through as normal.
The issue was seemingly brought to light when SCMP’s George Chen tweeted about the bizarre glitch last night.
Amazing! You can't transfer specific amount 6.4 RMB or 89.64 RMB via WeChat now due to politically sensitive "June 4" pic.twitter.com/HSBJRxFaan
— George Chen (@george_chen) June 3, 2015
Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend tonight’s June 4 candlelight vigil in Hong Kong, the only place in Greater China that allows mass gatherings to commemorate victims of the violent military crackdown in Tiananmen Square 26 years ago.
A statue of the goddess of democracy, which stood in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 protests, will be present at the vigil and holding up a yellow umbrella—a symbol embraced by pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong during the Occupy movement.
“Occupy was in a way a mini-June 4 for Hong Kong,” city legislator and vigil organizer Lee Cheuk-yan said in a Reuters report, referring to last year’s pro-democracy movement in the city.
“We should not separate our fight for democracy from that of China’s. We should link up the two and fight in unity.”