China’s Internet censorship has mysteriously been relaxed lately. A number of tightly censored terms and web sites, including “June 4,” were temporarily visible on China’s web browsers, following the high-profile ouster of Bo Xilai and an apparent shakeup in the Chinese regime’s top leadership. Chinese democracy activists are watching the developments as the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre approaches.
With the firewall partially unblocked beginning March 20, Chinese netizens were able to google reports on the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square student massacre on Baidu during the next two days. Articles citing Premier Wen Jiabao’s recent speech about “redressing miscarriage of justice and lifting the ban on June 4,” and an assessment of the Cultural Revolution at a meeting among Chinese Communist Party (CCP) authorities were among the unblocked search results.
The mood among Chinese netizens was one of elation. But at the same time, Bao Tong, the highest-ranking Chinese official presently still under house arrest for his opposition to Deng Xiaoping’s bloody crackdown on the student protesters, remained under surveillance and gag orders.